palm tree in the sun

Over the years, the cannabis industry has been on a constant trajectory of growth. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry persevered and continued to grow. That being said, the cannabis industry didn’t escape the pandemic unchanged.

Over the course of the pandemic (that we are arguably nearing the end of), the cannabis industry experienced several notable shifts in customer behavior. But will these new trends persist as we near the end of the pandemic? This summer is likely to give us those answers, but it’s looking promising.

“Back outside” is the tagline accompanying this year’s Rolling Loud music festival. Held in Miami, this is the first music festival since the pandemic began to be held at full force and full capacity. Rest assured, this isn’t the only place where things will be opening up and people will be “rolling loud,” this is just one of many signs of a promising summer.

With things opening up and vaccination rates continuing to increase, combined with the fact that everybody is eager to get out of the house and get back to real life, there is no doubt that there will be a significant shift in customer behavior throughout all industries this summer.

So, what should cannabis companies expect? What COVID-inspired trends will remain? And what will change? In this article, we’ll discuss all of that and more. In short, get ready for a summer of rolling loud.

Cannabis sales last summer 

Summer 2020 was a time where the world was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, cannabis sales still increased between June and August.

According to PR Newswire, during last year’s summer, cannabis sales increased 19% between June and August. This was smaller than previous years, but putting it into context with the pandemic, this is extremely impressive.

Traditionally, the summer months are some of the most profitable times for cannabis markets. With college being out of session and holidays like the 4th of July and 7/10 (Dab Day), there is no shortage of people looking to enjoy themselves with the help of cannabis.

This summer will be no different in that regard. In fact, we expect this summer to bring about some of the best sales the cannabis industry has seen. Here’s what you should expect:

What trends should cannabis companies expect to remain in summer 2021?

Ecommerce and delivery

COVID-19 played a major role in accelerating the cannabis industry’s shift to eCommerce and delivery. In the face of stay-at-home orders and the general consensus that we should all try to stay home when possible, cannabis consumers began to turn to eCommerce and other forms of online shopping to get their cannabis.

On top of this, the virus encouraged many states that were once reluctant towards eCommerce in the cannabis industry to push cannabis legalization bounds and give the green light to cannabis delivery and online ordering.

This legalization of cannabis eCommerce and the more general trend of recreational cannabis becoming more widely accepted are a large part of the rising popularity of eCommerce and delivery.

This summer, cannabis businesses can be sure that eCommerce and delivery are here to stay, so make sure your dispensary is equipped with the right tools and available on the right eCommerce platforms so you don’t miss out on online sales.

Edibles and bulk flower

Another trend that emerged during COVID that is likely here to stay is the demand for edibles and bulk flower.

Since COVID began, edibles have been flying off of the shelves of cannabis dispensaries. While we have noticed the increase in popularity of edibles even before the virus, the virus has caused shoppers to go all-in on edibles and their popularity has skyrocketed.

According to Headset sales of edibles went up 28% from their pre-COVID numbers. Some have speculated that because edibles are easier to share and consume without having to worry about smoking after somebody else, people have been consuming more edibles.

Another COVID-related change reported by Headset is that people have been buying flower in bulk. Similar to things like toilet paper, people have been trying to limit how many trips they’re making to town which explains why they’re purchasing more cannabis in bulk.

According to Headset, the average daily sales of an ounce of cannabis have risen 41% across all US markets during COVID, while sales of 1g packages have decreased by 13%.

Demand for high THC levels

Apart from COVID, over the past couple of years, one of the biggest trends in the cannabis industry has been the search for the highest THC levels. Each year growers get more and more creative with crosses, new strains, and better techniques for growing quality bud, and one of their main motivations behind this is to raise the THC levels of the bud they are producing.

Essentially, the higher the THC level of the bud, the more cannabis customers will view it as a “high-quality strain.” With demand rising for high-THC bud, there is another aspect to this trend: price.

What customers want is not only high-THC bud, but they want high-THC bud at a modest price. Striking this balance will be key to making the most out of this trend in the coming year.

If you want to make the most out of your cannabis sales this summer, then striking a balance between strength and price is important.

Continued push for cannabis legalization

Like we discussed shortly above, the push for cannabis legalization is at an all-time high, and with the Biden administration being in office, the federal government at large seems to be easing its view of cannabis.

Just recently in early may, Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that would federally legalize and regulate both recreational and medical marijuana. This would be huge for the legal cannabis industry.

According to Newsweek, “The bill would remove cannabis from the Federal Controlled Substances list; instruct the government to create a regulatory framework for marijuana similar to the alcohol industry; allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical cannabis, and protect financial institutions dealing with marijuana distributors and growers.”

Like we said above, this would be huge for every company and cannabis-related business in the cannabis space.

What will be different?

More in-person customers

First things first, we need to state the obvious. This summer you can expect there to be an influx of in-person cannabis shoppers.

As we said above, people will be itching to get out of the house this summer. With states loosening restrictions as vaccination rates increase, recreational marijuana customers are bound to be visiting your dispensary in person.

This summer, make sure that your dispensary is ready to handle the influx of people. In doing this, things like having a smooth POS system that is tied into your other operations will be important.

Expect to draw a younger crowd and to see more first-time customers

This summer, with school being out of session on top of the end of the pandemic nearing, we can expect to see the younger crowd getting especially active. 

On top of this, like said above attitudes towards cannabis are loosening, and the minds of young adults are no different. In fact, An increasing number of North American cannabis companies are reaching out to college students, offering summer internships as an opportunity to get their foot in the door in the growing industry. 

That being said, expect to see more of the younger crowd at your dispensary as well as more first-time customers as a result of the many people likely taking vacations this summer. 

That being said, it will be important to keep this in mind when developing your marketing campaigns, deciding which products to offer, and decorating your storefront.

Seizing summer 2021 as a cannabis business

In seizing the summer, paying attention to all of these trends and preparing for what is likely to happen will be crucial. 

In doing this, you’ll want to make sure that your dispensary is fit to handle the demand for eCommerce and delivery, as well as meet the demand for edibles and bulk flower. You’ll also want to make sure that your ready for more in-person shoppers and for more younger, first-time shoppers as a result vacationers. 

You’ll also want to make sure that you take advantage of all the summer holidays including Memorial Day, July 4th, 7/10 (Dab Day), and Labor Day. This goes for all times of the year, not just the summertime. Taking advantage of all holidays is crucial. 

On top of this, taking advantage of all the in-person traffic at your dispensary will be important. Specifically, you’ll want to turn as many first-time shoppers into loyalty members by advertising and pushing your cannabis loyalty program. If you want to see exactly how a loyalty program can help you make the most out of this summer, check out our article on why loyalty programs are important for your dispensary this summer. 

If you do all of this, you’ll be in a good position to boost sales and make the most of the summer.

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