Emerald Earnings: St. Patrick’s Day’s Surprising Impact on Cannabis Sales

February 8, 2024

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BDSA insights reveal a new trend as St. Paddy’s Day emerges as a key player in cannabis retail growth.

While 4/20 remains a key date in the cannabis calendar, an unexpected contender is emerging that deserves equal attention.

St. Patrick’s Day is now revealing a different shade of green, one that is increasingly significant for cannabis businesses. This Irish holiday is rapidly carving out its own space in the cannabis market, and our data indicates a growing trend that’s impossible to ignore.

With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, let’s dive into the numbers and explore how this traditional celebration is merging with cannabis culture, tapping into the luck of the Irish in a whole new way.

Celebrating with Cannabis: A New Tradition Emerges

St. Patrick’s Day comes with a wave of celebrations, and that’s precisely why cannabis fits so well with the Emerald Isle’s national day. BDSA Consumer Insights from Spring 2023 reveal a fascinating trend: Half of all cannabis consumers now integrate the plant into their festive routines, with a significant 39 percent viewing it as an essential part of every special occasion.

This emerging tradition sees cannabis joining the ranks of festive cheers and toasts. In fact, a substantial 41 percent of cannabis consumers partake during their social outings and celebrations, with 35 percent consistently making cannabis an integral part of their revelry (BDSA Consumer Insights, Spring 2023).

These data highlight a clear pattern: As the mood for celebration rises, so does the inclination to enjoy cannabis, weaving it into the fabric of joyous occasions and social gatherings.

St. Patrick’s Day: A Green Giant in Cannabis Sales

Let’s look at how St. Patrick’s Day unfolds in the world of cannabis sales. Picture a day traditionally filled with festive parades and emerald-colored everything becoming a landmark cannabis event. 

The day has swiftly risen to be the fourth largest holiday for cannabis sales, joining the ranks of 4/20, Green Wednesday, and Black Friday, according to BDSA’s Retail Sales Tracking.

What sets St. Patrick’s Day apart from the rest is that its sales aren’t driven by deep discounts.

In 2023, the average retail prices on St. Patrick’s Day were modestly lower, just 1.7 percent below the rest of March. This subtle difference hints at something intriguing. The spirit of the holiday itself is pulling consumers in, not slashed prices.

On St. Patrick’s Day in 2023, a Friday, sales spiked 33 percent above an average day in March. Looking ahead to 2024, the holiday will fall on a Sunday, and while this is generally a quieter day in sales, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and likely the cannabis sales as well, are expected to last all weekend long.

While St. Patrick’s Day itself was a sales bonanza, that week in its entirety tells a different story. The total sales for the week of St. Patrick’s Day were only marginally higher, 0.3 percent above other weeks in March. It appears the magic of St. Patrick’s Day in the cannabis world is a concentrated burst rather than a prolonged boom. Some states, like Colorado, did see a sizable (+10 percent) sales boost for the full week of St. Patrick’s Day, but sales in other markets were lower during the holiday week compared to the rest of March. This suggests that St. Patrick’s Day is cannibalizing sales on other days that week, a trend that should be taken into account when considering promotions and discounts. 

When it comes to product specifics, shake/trim/lite products saw a 7.5 percent surge in sales the week of St. Patrick’s Day, even with prices marked up by 8 percent. Disposable vapes weren’t far behind, enjoying a 2.6 percent rise in sales, further underscoring the diverse preferences of consumers during this festive period.

Regionally, the celebrations had their champions. Pennsylvania and Maryland led the festivities, with Pennsylvania seeing a 54 percent increase and Maryland a significant 51 percent boost in average daily sales on St. Patrick’s Day.

Capitalizing on St. Patrick’s Day: A Golden Opportunity for Cannabis Retail

With these stats in hand, the impact of St. Patrick’s Day on the cannabis market is unmistakable. This once purely traditional holiday now intertwines with a significant uptick in cannabis interest and sales, marking a pivotal moment for retailers.

But how can cannabis retailers tap into this newfound enthusiasm for St. Paddy’s day? As luck would have it, we have some insightful strategies businesses should consider to harness the holiday’s full potential:

  • Focus on Popular Product Categories: Given the surge in shake, trim, and light products, and disposable vapes, prioritize stocking and promoting these items. Offer variety in these categories to cater to the diverse preferences seen during the festive period and utilize cross-category promotions to increase total basket sizes.
  • Implement Modest Price Strategies: Since St. Patrick’s Day sales don’t depend on deep discounts, consider modest price adjustments or other types of promotions. Being diligent on not over-discounting where it isn’t necessary will help protect profit margins.  
  • Maximize Sales on Peak Days: Plan for concentrated sales efforts around the holiday, especially when it falls on traditionally popular days for cannabis sales. For instance, in 2024, with St. Patrick’s Day on a Sunday, extend promotions throughout the weekend to capitalize on the expected ripple effect in sales.
  • Region-Specific Marketing: Use localized promotions to appeal to these specific consumer bases.
  • Create a Festive Atmosphere: Reflect the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day in your store décor and online presence. Since the holiday’s spirit is a significant draw, an immersive experience can attract and retain customers, as well as remind them to stock up for the festivities.
  • Leverage the “Green” Theme: Utilize the green theme in your marketing materials. This doesn’t have to be limited to discounts but can include creative green-themed product bundles, store decorations, and online marketing campaigns.
  • Host Special Events or Partnerships: Consider hosting in-store events or collaborating with local businesses for cross-promotions, especially in regions with significant St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

By integrating these strategies, cannabis retailers can effectively capitalize on the unique opportunity St. Patrick’s Day presents, turning it into a significant occasion for boosting sales and expanding their customer base in line with the trends observed in the cannabis market.

Looking for more cannabis insights backed by the number one data source in the industry? Check out BDSA’s recent blog on how to optimize cannabis retail for Valentine’s Day. 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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