Coronavirus Spikes Demand For Cannabis Delivery As People Stockpile Products
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The coronavirus COVID-19 has many in the country on edge, working from home, and ordering lots of delivery weed.
This is to be expected. In times of economic downturn, sales increase for "vice" industries such as alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana use increased in the European economic recession of 2008. The United States hasn't seen a downturn quite like this one since cannabis has become legal in many states.
Some companies report a rise in sales
While the data for the month is still being collected, cannabis companies across the country have confirmed to Green Entrepreneur a rise in sales.
Some theories as to why: Many consumers are stockpiling products perhaps because, much like toilet paper, cannabis goes pretty quickly. In addition, consumers are using cannabis to deal with the mounting anxiety and potentially trauma-triggering fears that a pandemic brings with it.
"We've seen a slight increase in sales over the last two weeks as news of COVID-19's impact on our community continues to spread," says Amanda Denz, co-founder and CEO at Sava, a San Francisco-based delivery company that caters to the northern region of the state. "While our average order value usually holds pretty steady, we've seen an increase to that as well in March. Anecdotally, we're noticing people buying multiples of the same item, but haven't fully digested the data from March yet, as the month is still ongoing."
"In terms of Corona Virus, we’ve definitely observed a spike in sales for products that promote sleep and wellness, as those are important factors to supporting one’s immune system," says Kiana Anvaripour, Chief Marketing Officer of Sweet Flower, a Los Angeles-based cannabis dispensary with three storefronts as well as a delivery service.
Sweet Flower noticed an increase in sales, especially over the weekends. "Because of the virus, consumers are worried about scarcity, which is likely why they are purchasing more product than usual," Anvaripour says. "I also think that many of our customers are turning to our cannabis offerings to promote mental wellness and ease their minds in the midst of the nationwide panic."
Weed deliveries up
Sales aren't the only thing going up in the cannabis industry. With social distancing the new social norm, weed delivery is on the rise.
Tokr, a Los Angeles-based delivery service, reports a delivery increase of 287 percent since March 12, 2020. The company also says that its average cart size has tripled. "People are really stocking up anticipating they will be home for an extended period of time," a Tokr representative tells Green Entrepreneur. Its drivers also remain 6 feet from all consumers during delivery transactions, Tokr says.
Steve Allan, President of Caliva, reports a spike-level increase in delivery service during the month of March. “Yes, so far in March our delivery business is seeing double-digit growth. We have seen an increase in our delivery services across all of our locations, with record-breaking sales over the past two weeks."
"We know that many cannabis users rely on our products and services for their ongoing well-being, so having a delivery option that can continue to service them during these unprecedented times is something we’re proud to keep up and running," says Allan, adding that, "the safety of our own employees and our community [is] front of mind.”
Sweet Flower's Anvaripour says the spike in delivery is noticeable. "This is likely results from consumers avoiding contact within physical retail locations," says Anvaripour. "We’re taking all of the necessary precautions and measures to ensure a safe and clean environment for all of our guests and staff - for both our in-store experience and delivery service."
One of her theories is that the once cannabis-curious customers are now converting into frequent users, resulting in a steady climb. "During the 'vape crisis' a few months ago, we saw a bit of a switch between vapes to flower, which we welcomed. But that was only for a short period of time," says Anvaripour. "As a company, we wanted to educate people on the differences between black market vapes and high-quality and cannabis-derived terpenes, so we dedicated the whole month of January to clean vaping with educational events." She says the company will continue to prioritize the health of its employees and customers.