Just one year after the pandemic hit, as more people were able to get out and return to a less restrictive lifestyle, Labor Day weekend 2021 sales dropped 35% compared to 2020.
Cannabis consumers flocked to dispensaries on September 3, the Friday before Labor Day weekend, resulting in the third-largest day for cannabis sales in 2021. Unfortunately, that was the only good news for cannabis retail.
Overall, sales dropped in 2021 versus 2020 for the last weekend of summer. Analytics firms Headset and Flowhub both reported that sales dropped for the regions they cover. While wholesaler LeafLink saw an early jump in orders for the holiday, orders seemed to taper off as the weekend got closer.
According to cannabis data and analytics company Headset, Labor Day weekend (September 3-6) actually saw a slight decrease (-3.2%) in average daily sales in comparison to the previous four weekends.
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On a positive note, though on Friday 9/3/21 alone, we see a different story. Sales on September 3rd, 2021 were up 10.3% over the previous four Fridays and drove this day to be the third-largest day of total US cannabis sales so far this year. All data for the US is from the following markets: CA, CO, MI, NV, OR, PA, WA.
Beverages For The Win
Headset said that for the full holiday weekend, the only categories to see sales growth over the previous four weekends were Beverages (+8.4%) and Edibles (+4.2%). “When we look at only Friday, September 3rd instead, all categories saw positive growth with Edibles (+15.1%), Capsules (+13.3%), and Vapor Pens (+11.2%). The category with the lowest sales lift was Concentrate with +2.8% growth over the previous four Fridays.”
Dispensaries must’ve had an inkling that sales might be down because there was a slight increase in discounting over the entire holiday weekend. Headset said that the average discount over Labor Day Weekend 2021 was 13.7%, up from 12.3% over the previous four weekends — a relative increase of 11.8%. While Friday, September 3 was the highest sales day of the weekend, Labor Day itself (Monday 9/6) had the highest average discounts of 15.1%, up 27% over the previous four Mondays.
On the wholesale side of the business, it seems dispensaries were planning ahead for a busy holiday. LeafLink said that sales increased 4.33% during the month leading up to the 2021 Labor Day holiday versus a 2.39% increase across the same period in 2020. Leaflink also said that the most significant GMV (gross merchandise value) percentage increase came during the week of 8/15, increasing 4.5% over the previous. Sales then leveled off for the rest of the weeks leading up to Labor Day.
Leaflink outlined the category demand as follows for the holiday:
- Flower remained the most popular category in the month leading up to Labor Day, driving 36.33% of GMV compared to 35% of GMV in the month prior to Labor Day 2020 and 35.37% in the previous month.
- The second most popular product category leading up to Labor Day 2021 was Cartridges, which made up 22.29% of GMV (about a 1% increase over the previous month). This is a slight drop over 2020 when Cartridges made up 24% of GMV in the month before Labor Day.
- Flower saw significant growth during the week of 8/15, increasing 23% in GMV compared to the week before then grew another 9.9% in the following week. This could signify an increase in dispensaries stocking up on Flower in advance of Labor Day 2021.
- Packaged Flower was the most popular subcategory, making up 17.47% of total GMV in the month before Labor Day, with Bulk Flower coming in second at 16.29%.
The most popular products in the month leading up to Labor Day in 2021 were:
- Slurricane Packaged Flower – MUV (FL)
- Gelato Cake Packaged Flower – District Cannabis (MD)
- Wedding Cake Packaged Flower – Pacific Stone (CA)
- Blueberry Indica Gummies – MUV (FL)
- Moon Rocks Concentrates – UBaked (MI)
The most popular Cartridges in the month leading up to Labor Day 2021 were:
- Biscotti – Platinum Vape (MI)
- Sour Jack – MUV (FL)
- Double Bear Honey Cart – Terrapin (PA)
- Pink Lemonade – MUV (FL)
- Pie Driver – Platinum Vape (MI)
Flowhub provides point-of-sale, inventory, and other dispensary analytics. That company found that on average, Labor Day normally outperforms the typical Monday by 17-27%. Unfortunately, Flowhub’s data agreed with Headset as this year’s Labor Day 2021 was right on par with (actually slightly less than) a typical Monday. Flowhub said that there didn’t appear to be any holiday bumps in sales or transactions for Labor Day Monday and sales dropped by 9% versus the 2020 holiday.
Maybe the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 caused consumers to buy more last year? Labor Day’s Monday 2020 sales increased around 10% versus 2019. Just one year later as more people were able to get out and return to a less restrictive lifestyle, Labor Day weekend sales dropped 35% compared to 2020. On average, Labor Day weekend outperforms the typical (median) weekend by 15-21%. Flowhub said that Labor Day weekend 2021 sales were 27% less than sales on a typical summer weekend.