Cannabis sales in British Columbia grew by 140% last year, spurred by growth in the number of private and government retail outlets.
That growth was achieved while BC was under a “record-setting state of emergency” due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which dramatically altered consumer behaviour, the Liquor Distribution Branch said.
Sales More Than Doubled
Nonetheless, the provincial wholesaler’s sales more than doubled from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, increasing $191.4 million to $327.3 million, with the majority of those sales in the dried flower, pre-roll, extracts and concentrates categories.
“Cannabis product supply and assortment broadened across all categories, including edibles, topicals and extracts, which were legalized in 2019,” according to the Branch service plan. “As the sole wholesale distributor for the province, the LDB expanded its wholesale product selection … the broadening of product assortments and increased supply has improved the LDB’s competitiveness compared to that of the illicit market.”
The number of cannabis producers represented on BC store shelves doubled from 50 to 99 licensed suppliers, with more than 1,000 unique products on offer. All products are supplied to the market by the provincial wholesaler.
There were 305 private cannabis retail stores operating in BC at its fiscal year-end, including 127 newly opened outlets in the past year. The Branch also opened 10 new government-owned BC Cannabis Stores in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, for a total of 25.
Converting People to the Legal Market
“As the cannabis retail market continues to mature and the illicit market converts to the legal market, we anticipate that our sales will continue to increase,” the Branch said.
The average price per gram of dried flower declined by 24% driven partly by larger packaging formats, according to the Branch, “making legal products more competitive with the illicit market.”
“The supply of products in new categories, such as edibles, beverages and vapes broadened and stock reliability in these categories improved considerably throughout the year, which enabled more consistent access to products for customers,” said the Branch.
BC Cannabis Stores’ Operations
BC Cannabis Stores customer surveys found that consumers were largely happy with the provincial retailer, registering 86% satisfaction based on 5,000 responses.
The provincial wholesaler also succeeded in reducing shipping costs to retail stores by 66%, riding a 200% increase in outbound shipments and accommodating new products such as edibles with more complex storage and handling requirements.