Despite COVID-19 Fears, Washington State Sees Increase in Cannabis Sales

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Image: H_Ko / Shutterstock.com

As the COVID-19 virus spreads, it is important for individuals to be prepared with the necessities, but with increasing likelihood of long-term isolation, it also makes sense that people are thinking about more than just meeting their most basic immediate needs. 

Headset, a cannabis data analytics firm, has released a new report about sales in Washington state—and it looks like the coronavirus is driving up cannabis sales as consumers make long-term preparations to deal with the pandemic. Headset found a 23 percent rise in cannabis sales last Friday, a 14 percent rise Saturday, and a 33 percent rise on Sunday when compared to sales numbers from the previous week. 

“Consumers didn’t just stock up on toilet paper this weekend, it appears on their way home they stocked up on cannabis as well,” reported Headset. “The most commonly stocked up category in [Washington] was Edibles which saw an increase in sales volume of over 50 percent on Friday compared to the trailing four Fridays.”

The increase in sales numbers was not simply due to an increase in customers. According to Headset, the average customer basket size also increased and was driven largely by those looking to stock up before they hunkered down.

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According to data, average baskets on Sunday were $33.70 before taxes—up 22 percent over the prior week and 28 percent compared to the two months prior—with over 21 percent of baskets being greater than $50 compared to only 16 percent the previous week. 

Delivery of cannabis also seems to be rising, at least for some dispensaries. Airfield Supply Co., a dispensary located in San Jose, recently experienced a 100 percent increase in delivery requests. Airfield Supply Co.’s Chief Marketing Officer Chris Lane thinks the shift in consumer behavior could be, at least partially, here to stay.

“I think we could be seeing the cannabis industry’s Amazon Prime moment,” said Lane. “The rapid shift to online ordering and delivery is having a powerful impact—and this could set the tone for consumer shifts in how we purchase cannabis moving forward.”

Airfield is also providing another way for customers to pick up cannabis while maintaining social distance.

“We are launching a new curbside pick-up option to find convenient, comfortable ways to meet demand,” Lane said. 

Businesses are going to suffer from the significant economic disruptions caused by the Coronavirus and COVID-19, but its clear the market for cannabis remains, making creative delivery options critical.

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