Small Categories, Big Wins: How to Optimize Cannabis Retail for Valentine’s Day

January 31, 2024

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The New Year is in full swing, and cannabis businesses are already looking ahead to the biggest holidays for cannabis in 2024. At first glance, Valentine’s Day may not seem like an important day for cannabis sales, but a careful look shows that the holiday presents an opportunity to boost sales across several product categories, particularly with edibles and topicals.

Before we dive into the nitty gritty of sales trends on Valentine’s Day, it’s worth taking a moment to examine consumer trends. Consumer Insights data show that 37% report consuming with one other person, suggesting that cannabis can play a major role for consumer couples on Valentine’s Day. A large share of consumers also report that cannabis already plays a role in their romantic lives, as 56% claim that they have used cannabis as part of their “date nights” and whopping 44% of consumers report always using cannabis on date nights.

Cannabis consumers also enjoy pairing cannabis with other activities or consumption associated with Valentine’s Day. 41% of consumers claim that often pair cannabis with music or movies, 26% report that they consume cannabis with chocolate, while 18% claim that they often pair cannabis with fine dining.

Price Right to See Success

Looking at top line sales alone, Valentine’s Day presents itself as an underwhelming day for the cannabis industry. Retail Sales Tracking data show that average daily sales for the week of the holiday were -1% lower than the average of other weeks in February 2022, and -1.5% lower than the average for the other weeks in February 2023. Part of this decline can be explained by pricing trends, as average retail prices during the week of Valentine’s Day were -4% lower than the rest of the month in 2022, and -1% lower than the rest of the month in 2023.

Notably, these pricing decreases were seen across most product categories in 2023, including categories like flower that saw LOWER sales during the holiday week compared to the rest of the month. Discounts and promotions can be a useful tool to drive sales on the biggest cannabis holidays, but these data suggest that they can be a detriment when utilized across the board on Valentine’s Day.

Identify Key Categories to Make the Most of the Day

Maximizing the sales potential of Valentine’s Day requires a deeper dive into the data, as the holiday really shines when it comes to a few subcategories: chocolates, lubricants, and lotions.

Making up just under a 1% market share of total sales, and a 7% share of edible sales, chocolates saw the highest sales boost of any edible subcategory on the week of Valentine’s Day. BDSA Retail Sales Tracking shows that chocolate sales on the week of Valentine’s Day were +13% higher than the rest of the weeks in February 2023, bringing in $828K in average daily retail sales for the week of Valentine’s Day. This boost in sales does go hand-in-hand with some pricing declines, as chocolates were prices -3.7% lower that week compared to the rest of the month.

Topical products make up just 0.5% of total sales, but these subcategories deserve some attention for retailers looking to boost sales around Valentine’s Day. Lubricant products saw the biggest sales boost of any cannabis product category around the holiday, while massage oils saw the second biggest sales increase. Sales of cannabis lubricants were +34% higher the week of Valentine’s Day compared to the rest of the month, even with products being priced +4% higher that week compared to other weeks in February 2023. The week of Valentine’s Day also brought a strong boost to massage oil sales, with +19% higher sales that week compared to the rest of 2023, and average retail prices for the week sitting -1.4% lower than the rest of the month.

With the hypercompetitive nature of the current cannabis industry, cannabis businesses must utilize every opportunity to increase sales. Valentine’s Day may not bring a sales bump across the board like 4/20 or Green Wednesday, but a close look at the data shows that the holiday can bring a significant lift to chocolate and topical subcategories. By employing a careful pricing or promotion strategy, and ensuring sufficient stock of infused chocolates, lubricants, and lotions, retailers can see strong sales performance on Valentine’s Day.

Looking for more cannabis insights backed by the number one data source in the industry? Check out BDSA’s recent blog on price compression. Want to learn more about BDSA? Reach out to request a demo.

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Tags: BDSA-Insights, Business, Cannabis, Marijuana

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