Data collected by BDSA analytics shows that because of the pandemic, cannabis consumption has risen higher than ever seen before.
BDSA released a report on March 2, stating that global cannabis sales reached $21.3 billion in 2020. This is a 48 percent increase from sales data collected in 2019, which peaked at $14.4 billion at the time. “The cannabis industry faced numerous challenges in the past few years, none so potentially disruptive as the coronavirus pandemic in 2020,” said BDSA Chief Executive Officer Micah Tapman. “Our previous forecast was conservative based on the expected economic fallout from the pandemic, but the industry not only survived, it thrived and legal cannabis gained considerable ground, exceeding our expectations in several markets.” The cannabis analytic platform predicts that cannabis could reach up to $55.9 billion in 2026 if trends continue to match the current trajectory.
Last year, multiple US states with legal recreational cannabis showed significant growth in sales—Colorado sales increased by 26 percent and Oregon increased by 39 percent. Canada also experienced similar growth, with a massive 61 percent increase (more than $2.6 billion for the year). “We expected more potential impact from an economic downturn, but the industry has proven to be resilient,” says BDSA head of insights and analytics department Kelly Nielsen. “It’s potentially recession-proof.” Nielsen attributes three main factors to this observation: 1. The pandemic made cannabis businesses “essential,” 2. New customers became purchasers of cannabis product in already mature markets, and 3. Newer legal states (such as Illinois or Arizona) opened up opportunities for more customers as well.In a BDSA survey, 30 percent of consumers said that they shop for cannabis items “often,” and 25 percent confirm that the pandemic has caused an increase in their overall cannabis consumption. According to Forbes, numerous business owners found that shops that once experienced slower daily traffic began to see an increase in sales. The opposite was also true for some dispensaries, such as Urbn Leaf near Sea World, which experience a drastic decrease in traffic due to the drop in tourism.