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In a record year, cannabis holiday sales remain flat in 2021

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This year’s Christmas cannabis shopping has wrapped up some interesting twists and trends, according to statistics from Earphone, a data collection company that specializes in software platforms for cannabis retailers.

Cooper Ashley, chief data analyst at Headset, reported that average daily sales during the week before Christmas rose just 6.2 percent, compared to a 2021 increase of nearly 20 percent in the previous four weeks. But the really high sales help explain the minimal increase, he says — especially since 2020 saw massive increases in cannabis sales throughout the year.

“I think 2020 was an exception for many aspects of life,” Ashley says. “There has been tremendous growth and huge increases in cannabis sales, particularly in Colorado and Washington, which are the two oldest cannabis markets in the United States now that we, in our community, are accustomed, in some ways to or out of COVID (however you want to define it), we are seeing more of back to normal in terms of consumer response.”

While no product category has seen a drop in sales this year, concentrates, flowers, and ready-made rolls were the few that didn’t keep pace with Colorado’s overall market growth. “This kind of sign is that you probably don’t put a gram of wax in your friend’s stockpile or something,” Ashley says with a laugh.

The three categories with the most impact in 2021 were topicals (up 54 percent), beverages (up 47 percent) and tinctures/sublingual (up 36 percent). In 2020, the most popular products were steam pens (up 26 percent), topicals (up 20 percent) and capsules (up 18 percent).

Unlike other cannabis holidays, such as Green Wednesday or Black Friday, there are not many bargains in the Christmas period. “At most markets, most years, there isn’t a huge increase in discounts over the Christmas period,” Ashley notes. “It’s a natural increase in demand because people are supposed to be shopping more for gifts and things like that.”

He adds that predicting 2022 is difficult: “I think you have to look at the larger context of what’s happening in the world. I think people this winter may be back to normal because of the coronavirus than they were last year.”

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