Everyone has seen the lines at cannabis retailers, and the headlines about increased cannabis sales and coronavirus. But is there data to support this? Headset is a company that collects and organizes retail data from the cannabis industry.

Senior Product Manager at Headset, Jewel Loree spoke with The Sesh about Headset’s model.

“All of our data is from retailers,” Loree told The Sesh. “They have the option to share that data with us, which we take and anonymize, and run statistical models on and make projections for the entire market. We are in seven or eight markets and in the US and Canada. We make market projections looking at what kinds of categories or products are selling, and how big the market is.” 

Amid this crisis, Headset has become a valuable resource by aggregating, visualizing, and comparing recent cannabis sales data in ‘Daily updates on the Coronavirus and its effects on cannabis markets.’ 

The data company has unveiled some interesting findings.

Washington’s Wild Ride of Cannabis Sales

On March 31, Headset compared Washington state’s March sales data to the median store data. Washington cannabis sales peaked in mid-March, right around the time businesses began closing, and dipped at the end of the month. 

“Demand remained high throughout last week, though softened over the weekend with sales at about 10% below normal levels,” the daily updates read.

Another data point to consider is not how many people were buying, but how much each person purchased. 

People Buying Bigger Bags

coronavirus cannabis sales

“Looking at sales between 3/15/20 and 3/17/20 we saw that Flower sales shifted toward large package sizes as consumers stocked up,” the update reads. “Sales for ounces were up over 100% (over comparable weekdays in the trailing 4 weeks). It looks like people aren’t going for grams in this trying time.”

Cannabis sales in other states have followed a somewhat similar trajectory. 

People Buying More Cannabis in Oregon

Oregon’s sales data also shows a significant increase in the average transaction size in March.

“From March 16 to March 22, the median transaction was was over $40 every day (compared to closer to $30 in Jan/Feb),” the daily update explains. “This represented a 35% increase in the typical transaction size. The shaded area displays the 25th to the 75th percentile – meaning more than half of stores saw average transaction sizes in that range.” 

What Are People Buying?

Has COVID-19 affected the types of products people are buying? Cross-contamination and respiratory health are at the forefront of people’s minds. So it makes sense this might affect people’s cannabis purchasing choices. 

“Edibles, Beverages, and Flower were the only categories to have average daily sales increases that beat the market at large, with Edibles being the clear front runner at 28% growth,” The update reads. “At the other end of the chart, Pre-Rolls and Topicals completely missed out on the COVID stock-up sales surge, both having 13% decreases in average daily sales volume between the two time periods.”

It makes sense that edibles would see growth with the current pandemic being one that affects the lungs and chest. Alternately, pre-rolls must be smoked.

Lawrence Perrigo, Owner of Saints Joints, hasn’t noticed any impact on his sales.

“No dip at all!” Perrigo reported. 

Saints Joints specializes in joint packs, as opposed to singles, which may be helping them maintain steady sales.

Despite the uptick in edible sales, the pandemic is wreaking havoc on some edible cannabis processors.

Jamie Hoffman, President of edible company Craft Elixirs told The Sesh via email about how the coronavirus is causing serious issues for her business.corona

“You’re seeing an increase in sales of inventory that was already in the retail shops or already manufactured,” Hoffman wrote. “Even as an essential business, our business is not in a great place. The majority of staff are calling out sick or afraid to come to work and I need to respond to any illness with concern to keep the rest of us safe. I don’t see this pattern ending anytime soon.”
Nearly half of Hoffman’s staff is out, slowing production drastically and leaving the company’s inventory dangerously low. Increases in sales won’t make up for the loss of future income. If the staffing situation continues, Hoffman anticipates she’ll have to close her doors and re-open next year.
“The situation is very serious and not a time to celebrate,” Hoffman warned.
Looking Forward

Times are moving fast, and there’s no telling what will happen in any industry, cannabis included. People being stuck at home doesn’t kill the cannabis industry the way it does other industries. Still, it stands to reason this crisis will change people’s buying habits in some way or another. It will be interesting to watch and assess the market as time passes and more data is collected during this crisis.