Green Wednesday Could Produce Record Sales
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The day before Thanksgiving has a bit of a sordid history. Back in 2007, the day was coined ‘Drinksgiving’ or ‘Blackout Wednesday’ by college students flocking back home to be with family for the holidays. Unfortunately, it is also a horrifically common night for drunk driving accidents, surpassing New Year’s Eve by a longshot.
From 2012 through 2016, Thanksgiving week produced the highest number of fatal car crashes of any holiday, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA also says that nearly one in three traffic fatalities during the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday weekend involved a drunk driver.
Luckily, in 2016, cannabis retailers and brands began to reimagine November 25, as an opportunity to reunite with old friends with a smoke sesh or two, rather than binge drinking. Consumers also started realizing how much better mom’s stuffing tastes 15 minutes after a Wana Quick fast-acting gummies, or how discreetly sipping a Mad Lilly Spritzer makes grandma’s 20 questions about why you’re still single MUCH more amusing.
Huge sales predicted
In a year plagued by bad news and the pandemic, the cannabis industry is preparing for a potentially massive day at the cash register. Last year, Green Wednesday had 40 percent greater total sales than the average sales on the four previous Wednesdays, according to Headset data. This trend, combined with already high weed sales due to pandemic-related woes, has cannabis retailers bracing themselves for what may be one of the busiest Green Wednesdays the industry has ever seen.
According to Camille Roistacher, CEO of California cannabis supply chain company, Voyage Distribution, there’s a lot more hype around Green Wednesday in 2020 than in the past. “We’re seeing an increase in order size in anticipation of this Wednesday, so all signs are pointing to a dramatic spike in dispensary sales,” says Roistacher.
Alana Malone, CEO of Colorado’s longest-running extract brand, Green Dot Labs, also noticed the increase. “We saw an uptick in orders beginning last week as stores started to restock in advance of the Thanksgiving selling period,” says Malone.
Colorado dispensary chain, Lightshade, has also been anticipating a big week. “We are prepared for a lot of traffic,” says Lisa Gee, Director of Marketing & CSR at Lightshade. “We’re also stockpiled with flower, which is what we’re usually worried about the most.”
Proceed with caution
With the pandemic only getting worse by the day, dispensaries should proceed with caution to keep customers safe during the rush. Digital sales platforms, curbside pick-up, and even drive-throughs are all measures that dispensaries like Lightshade have been implementing as regulations change. Since Colorado doesn’t currently allow cannabis delivery, Lightshade is in the process of offering a drive-through of sorts. Customers will have the option to drive into an enclosed garage attached to the dispensary one at a time to make purchases from the safety of their own car vehicle.
“The majority of our efforts are going towards providing convenience for the consumer or patient while tending to their safety,” says Gee.
Cannabis delivery services are also preparing for a rush, limiting wholesale ordering to focus on consumer deliveries. “We’ve been getting emails from delivery partners, notifying everyone that the cutoff for dispensary deliveries is Tuesday, allowing them to dedicate Wednesday and Thursday to what I imagine will be a flood of incoming consumer orders,” says Roistacher.
It makes sense to assume that many consumers might play it safe by avoiding the dispensary and instead, press a few buttons on their devices to make weed magically appear on their doorstep. In 2019, California delivery service Eaze saw a 90 percent increase in deliveries over a typical Wednesday. For Eaze, Green Wednesday is also the second-largest sales day after 4/20.
“Some dispensaries are even offering special discounts and deals to people who choose to order online. More significant discounts could ultimately drive bigger basket sizes as consumers take advantage of savings and stock up for a long holiday weekend,” says cannabis entrepreneur and former President of Cresco Labs, Joe Caltabiano.
According to Flowhub’s recent 2020 market data, average daily basket values are increasing substantially, and consumers are buying more in bulk, perhaps to eliminate multiple trips, since data also points to a dip in the daily number of transactions.
“It feels like the market overall is just more extreme and at times, frantic,” says Joe Hodas, CMO of North America’s largest cannabis gummy manufacturer, Wana Brands.
What people are buying
When it comes to what customers are buying, the data points to flower and edibles. The latter has doubled in sales this year. Hodas mentioned that since Wana’s sales have been overall higher than usual, it’s hard to estimate what Green Wednesday will bring. Wana Brands boasts a projected revenue of $120 million in 2020.
“In normal circumstances, we’d be able to trend it out a little better and forecast. I’m interested to see how this anomaly of a year will also impact holiday sales,” Hodas says.
Of course, 2020 has brought us far beyond anything that resembles “normal circumstances,” so it’s not surprising that early holiday bargain hunting could also cause an uptick in sales on Green Wednesday. As of November, 59 percent of holiday shoppers claim to have started making purchases. Maybe consumers are bored with being at home, making package arrivals all that more exciting. Or perhaps weed lovers are using the cash otherwise spent on expensive holidays towards gifting. The National Retail Federation’s “Shop Safe, Shop Early” campaign might also play a role, encouraging consumers to think ahead, avoid the crowds, and check everyone off their lists early.
Overall, industry experts are on the edge of their seats, waiting to see exactly what Green Wednesday will bring. Gee says, bring it on. “If we can live through the volume of sales we saw on 4/20, we can handle this.”