We've heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but the marijuana industry's own sales event on Thanksgiving Eve, a day of deals called "Green Wednesday," has now added one more shopping frenzy to that holiday weekend.
Green Wednesday isn't very old; it was created over the last four or five years by California dispensaries to entice shoppers through their doors the day before America's collective feast. Now the Green Wednesday celebration stretches across the country, and 2020 may have been its biggest year yet, according to dispensary menu and tracking services.
Legal pot sales have already enjoyed a big year in Colorado and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pandemic may have played a part in how dispensaries pushed out products last week. According to dispensary analytics company Headset, pot shops across the country saw a 40.2 percent rise in sales dollars on Green Wednesday, compared to sales averages during the previous four weeks, while Black Friday sales actually dropped 4.7 percent. While Headset didn't have data comparing Thanksgiving to previous Thursdays, it did document that Americans bought 15.2 percent more weed on Turkey Day 2020 than they did in 2019.
For dispensary managers trying to organize retail services during a pandemic, having two or three days (or four, if you count Cyber Monday) instead of one for holiday sales allows for less human contact without limiting buying opportunities for customers or adding extra stress to the workforce, according to Brent McDonald, marketing director for dispensary chain Apothecary Farms.
"The biggest advantage during the pandemic is spreading out the crowd. Limiting the amount of people in your store while still doing good numbers is huge," he explains. "I think [Green Wednesday] kind of became a thing with the pandemic this year. It was smart to spread out your sales. Wednesday was our biggest day. It was as big or bigger Black Friday."
McDonald believes that Green Wednesday is here to stay, and will become an important revenue generator for dispensaries during late fall, when sales traditionally drop. But with Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving week, Christmas and New Year's rolling out consecutively in the months after summer ends, the pot industry now has just as many excuses as car dealerships, if not more, to hawk above-average amount of product to customers.
"It's pretty similar across the industry now, so it just depends on what you decide to do and how you want to schedule it," McDonald explains.
Online sales also saw a huge increase on both Green Wednesday and Black Friday this year. According to Jane Technologies, which operates the online dispensary sales platform Jane, online orders during Green Wednesday in Colorado were 680 percent higher than they were on the same day in 2019, and 61 percent higher compared to the average Wednesday in 2020.
Meanwhile, Jane numbers show that Black Friday saw 495 percent more online orders than Black Friday the year before; Thanksgiving week's online orders jumped 620 percent overall over 2019.
Now that the rush is over, business is all about managing the drop until Christmas, McDonald says, as a hefty portion of purchases during Thanksgiving week were larger than average.
"You definitely see a lull after having a successful week, but obviously we're prepared for that to even out," he says, adding that his stores will hold one more big sale before Christmas. "If you throw a sale or hype up Christmas or New Year's, those last five days of the year — those are very busy days."
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