As the cannabis market continues to mature in Canada, understanding when sales are likely to see peaks and valleys can help retailers better plan their inventory, staffing, and business operations.
Cova, a major cannabis retail management software company for POS, eCommerce, and digital payment solutions, conducts regular data analysis that offers valuable insights into when retailers can anticipate a swing in sales.
These insights are based on aggregate market data from coast to coast, so Canadian retailers must consider their specific market and customer demographics. However, Cova’s data analysis provides a valuable starting point for store owners to anticipate when they may experience a surge in cannabis sales and plan their operations accordingly.
Friday is King
In terms of days of the week, Cova’s data indicates that Friday is consistently the busiest day for cannabis sales in Canada, particularly the Friday before a long weekend. Sales tend to be quieter earlier in the week, with Monday to Wednesday being relatively slow, followed by an uptick on Thursday and Friday. These trends have remained consistent since the legalization of cannabis in Canada. A long weekend corresponding to special occasions usually sees an uptick of over 50% increase in cannabis sales, which is a clear indication that Canadians enjoy incorporating cannabis into their celebrations.
4/20 vs. Canada Day vs. Other Holidays
Interestingly, while 4/20 is always the biggest cannabis sales day in the United States, that wasn’t the case in 2022 for Canada. In fact, sales on Canada Day were 23% higher than 4/20 and 72% higher than on a regular day. It was the first time since legalization that Canada Day beat 4/20 as the biggest sales day of the year. This could be due to the cultural significance of our national holiday and the fact that it’s also the beginning of summer in the Great White North, giving Canadians another reason to celebrate. However, this also indicates that 4/20 may not be the biggest cannabis holiday in Canada anymore, although we will have to wait for Canada Day this year to know for sure.
Canada Day beat 4/20 as the biggest sales day of the year.
Green Wednesday, which falls two days before Black Friday, is one of the biggest sales days in the US but is not as significant in Canada. But on Halloween last year, Canadian cannabis retailers averaged $4,509 in sales, a 34% increase compared to a regular day. Similarly, on Christmas, average sales totaled $5,164, corresponding to a 54% increase versus a regular day, beating 4/20 as well. These numbers indicate that Canadians are increasingly consuming cannabis during holiday celebrations.
Lastly, Superbowl and New Year’s Eve remain popular holidays for cannabis sales in Canada, with 36% and 45% increases respectively, compared to a regular day. The overall sales figures for all these occasions are significantly higher than the average regular day sales in Canada, indicative of clear seasonality in cannabis sales during holidays and special occasions.
The Normalization of Cannabis and 4/20
Cova’s 4/20 infographic from last year shows that Americans consume more cannabis than Canadians on all holidays, but especially on 4/20. It could be because 4/20 has traditionally been a day when cannabis advocates organize gatherings to protest against the war on drugs and push for legalization. As cannabis consumption is now relatively normalized in Canada since legalization over four years ago, 4/20 may not be as significant for Canadians anymore as it is in the US, where cannabis is still illegal federally. Moreover, dispensaries in the US offer more discounts and promotions on 4/20, incentivizing consumers to buy more cannabis.
4/20 has historically helped in the normalization of cannabis and continues to be a sales driver for the Canadian cannabis industry, with the potential to surpass other holidays as the biggest sales day in the industry. However, Canada’s national day holds the crown for now, and we’ll have to wait and see what 2023 has in store for us. For the 2023 infographic, you can visit the Cova blog after 4/20 this year.
Cannabis sales in Canada follow a clear seasonal pattern, with a significant increase in sales during holidays, indicating that cannabis retailers can benefit significantly from promoting and preparing for these occasions to maximize their sales potential. As the cannabis industry grows, it will be interesting to see how these sales patterns evolve and whether new occasions emerge as significant sales drivers in the future.
Note: Cova is committed to data privacy. Our data policy is designed to protect the confidentiality of our customers’ information and minimize the opportunity for data scraping.