The cannabis industry is faring remarkably well, despite – or, likely, because of – the global COVID-19 pandemic, according to BDSA’s analysis of retail sales tracking data year-to-date 2020.
Nearly every jurisdiction in the United States and Canada declared cannabis an essential service and most cannabis retailers remained open during the pandemic, and consumers have continued shopping, though their behaviors have changed somewhat during the crisis.
The August 2020 update to BDSA’s global legal cannabis forecast shows sales reaching $19.7 billion in 2020, a variance of less than 1% from the previous forecast. While the top-line difference is minimal, there are significant changes in key state and national markets. Sales in many U.S. markets performed stronger than forecast, while others didn’t perform as well as expected.
The revised U.S. forecast includes increases in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Oregon through July, based on available data including BDSA’s retail sales tracking data. Meanwhile, legal cannabis sales in Nevada in 2020 are expected to be approximately 16% lower in than originally forecast, due to that market’s heavy dependency on tourism and mandated delivery for the adult-use channel during the COVID-19 shutdown.
The U.S. accounted for nearly 84% of total global legal cannabis sales in 2019 and just five state markets made up 56% of that total. In those five markets—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon—BDSA’s retail sales tracking showed strong growth in legal cannabis sales through July 2020. Sales through July in those five states were nearly $4.8 billion, up 21% YoY.
The complicated landscape of the global legal cannabis market is made less so by BDSA’s wide array of data and insights. This storehouse of information enables BDSA to develop in-depth understanding of key factors such as what cannabis products are selling where and consumer attitudes and behaviors that affect purchasing.
Using retail sales data from our retail partners, along with a comprehensive understanding of macro-economic factors, BDSA’s market forecasts for the U.S., Canada and other significant global cannabis markets are the most accurate available. With the addition of category-level breakouts, informed by BDSA retail sales tracking data, companies expanding in the cannabinoid space get a leg up on where and how to expand.
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