Sales Growth Opportunities Around the Scariest Holiday: How to Use Halloween to Boost Cannabis Edible Sales 

October 31, 2022

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While it’s expected that holidays like 420 and 710 (oil day!) will lead to a boost in daily and weekly cannabis sales, other holidays which typically aren’t associated with cannabis can also be a boon to brands and retailers that play their cards right. Halloween is just around the corner, and the cannabis industry should take notice of the unique value that this holiday provides. According to BDSA’s trended Consumer Insights study, activities like parties and Halloween movie nights go hand in hand with cannabis consumption.

Consumer Dynamics Around Halloween 

Most commonly, consumers report using cannabis in more low-key situations, to relax and unwind at the end of the day, but BDSA Consumer Insights data from Spring 2022 show that cannabis consumption also crosses over into more festive occasions such as Halloween. When looking at social occasions for cannabis consumption, 50% of consumers in adult-use states claim they always use cannabis when celebrating special events.  

BDSA Consumer data also show that younger consumers are even more likely to incorporate cannabis into social occasions or parties, with 60% of Gen Z cannabis consumers claiming that cannabis always plays a role in celebrations and special events, and 70% claiming that they always use cannabis at small get-togethers. 

How to Price to Win for Halloween

While BDSA’s Retail Sales Tracking shows that other holidays see greater promotions and discounts, Halloween has historically coincided with lower Average Retail Price across most of BDSA’s tracked markets. In 2021, the week of Halloween saw lower average retail prices in the Maryland market compared to the average for non-holiday weeks. BDSA Seasonality Analysis show that equivalent average retail prices for the week of Halloween were ~5% lower than the average retail prices for non-holiday weeks in October. 

This trend also has been apparent in emerging adult-use markets. In Illinois, Halloween saw the lowest ARP of any day in October in 2021, with BDSA RST showing that EQ ARP was ~5% lower on Halloween than the average of other days in October 2021. This is especially significant given that Halloween fell on a Sunday in 2021, which is one of the slower days for cannabis sales per BDSA’s Seasonality Tracker. 

Halloween May Not Always Provide a Strong Boost to OVERALL Cannabis Sales, But Expect to see Edible Sales Get a Bump Around the Holiday 

Looking at overall sales in California for 2021, the week of Halloween saw weekly dollar sales remain relatively flat compared to the other weeks in October 2021. However, when we look at the edible category specifically, Halloween provides a noticeable increase in sales. In California in 2021, weekly sales for the week of Halloween were ~5% higher than other weeks in October 2021. 

The candy category in particular saw a big boost in unit sales for the week of Halloween, with the week of Halloween in 2021 bringing a ~10% increase in candy unit sales in California compared to other weeks of October 2021. With all this said, no two markets are alike, and some states do see an appreciable increase in overall sales around Halloween. The Maryland market, for example, saw Halloween bring a ~7% increase in overall weekly sales in 2021 compared to other weeks in October 2021. 

What Should Retailers and Brands expect for Halloween this Year?

Like any major sales day for cannabis, it is necessary for retailers and brands to have a strategy to maximize sales around Halloween. Here are some key points to consider when crafting your plan to get the most out of this spooky sales growth opportunity. 

  • Targeting key product categories for promotion can bring an increase in unit sales, but given the current pricing landscape, a data-based approach to pricing is an absolute must. For markets that are experiencing price compression such as California and Colorado, focusing promotions on specific categories like candy and chocolates is the way to go. 
  • Expect the Halloween uptick in sales to come before the holiday itself. BDSA’s Seasonality analysis shows that Monday brings in the second lowest sales of any day of the week. Expect the sales increase from Halloween to come on the Friday and Saturday before the spooktacular day itself. 
  • Tailoring your strategy for a given market is crucial. While Halloween does mean a big boost in Maryland, other markets like Colorado see less of an influence on overall sales from the holiday.  

The legal cannabis landscape has undergone dramatic changes in the past year, but opportunities to see growth are still abundant for those who take an informed approach to every aspect of the industry. With BDSA’s Pricing and Seasonality analysis, operators can make the most of peak cannabis sales days to stay ahead of the competition. 

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