September 28, 2020 3 min read
This story originally appeared on MJBizDaily
Consumers’ purchasing patterns involving marijuana have changed noticeably over the past several months in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Marijuana shoppers are spending more money per visit to recreational retail outlets. But they are shopping less often, perhaps for safety, or scheduling, reasons.
Our heat map of weekly adult-use sales changes in four western states show sales recovering through the year, with retailers benefiting from favorable treatment by state governments that allowed them to stay open or provide curbside service.
Across the country, in fact, many states declared cannabis companies “essential” businesses.
But there have been roller-coaster weeks in adult-use sales in California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington state, according to data provided by Seattle-based analytics firm Headset.
The initial state lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders caused recreational sales to drop almost 50% in late March in the four states – at least until federal stimulus checks started hitting consumers’ bank accounts in April and sales rebounded.
In the past month, however, a downturn in weekly sales has started to emerge. But it is too early to understand the exact cause.
One possibility: The U.S. government’s temporary lifeline to tens of millions of unemployed workers – $600 a week in extra jobless benefits – expired at the end of July.
But up until now, cannabis sales have been relatively recession-resistant.
The National Bureau of Economic Research formally proclaimed the recession began in February, when the coronavirus crisis caused much of the U.S. economy to pause.
Recession or not, marijuana shopping habits have changed markedly since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as shown by this chart:
The average amount a consumer purchases at one time – or the average basket size