4/20: A Boon for Pre-Roll Sales Amid Varied Market Trends

By WeedWeek
May 9, 2024
Courtesy: Custom Cones USA

In the cannabis industry, no date sparks a surge in sales quite like April 20th. Often considered the ultimate cannabis holiday, 4/20 annually triggers a massive spike in consumer purchases. This year, despite a slight overall downturn in cannabis sales from the previous year, pre-rolls emerged as a strong performer, signaling an evolving consumer preference.

According to a report by the cannabis data firm Headset, sales on April 20th amounted to $83.6 million across tracked markets in the U.S. and Canada, encompassing over 6 million cannabis products. Although this represented a slight decline from last year’s figures, it highlights a robust market with room for strategic growth, particularly in the pre-roll segment.

A deep dive into pre-roll performance

While the broader cannabis market saw a dip, pre-rolls experienced a significant uplift. Custom Cones USA’s deep dive into Headset data illustrates a fascinating trend: pre-roll sales soared to $63.9 million during the week of 4/20, marking a $11 million increase over the previous year. This 22% rise from the average sales in the preceding four weeks underscores the increasing popularity of pre-rolls during major cannabis celebrations.

Unit data tells a similar story. Nearly 7 million pre-rolls were sold in the week of 4/20, a 43% increase from 2023. These figures suggest a growing consumer preference for the convenience and quality that pre-rolled products like pre-rolled cones and pre-rolled tubes offer.

State-Level Insights: Hits and Misses

While the pre-roll market as a whole performed well on 4/20, state level data shows that sales varied strongly from state to state. Michigan proved to be a standout, with a 54% increase in pre-roll revenue year-over-year and over 2.3 million units sold. 

Southwestern states like Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada saw declines in pre-roll sales, with Nevada experiencing drops in both revenue and unit sales. These variances highlight the diverse dynamics at play across different regions in both established and newer markets.

New Markets and Pricing Dynamics

Emerging markets such as Maryland and New York tell two different stories. Maryland, celebrating its first fully legal 4/20, saw a 250% increase in pre-roll sales compared to the previous year. New York, however, lagged behind with the lowest pre-roll sales of any state. The disappointing 4/20 sales come as no surprise as The Empire State is dealing with a slow rollout of cannabis legalization.

Pricing strategies also played a significant role during this period. The average price of pre-rolls fell to $11.63 during the 4/20 week, a decrease from the previous month but a slight increase year-over-year. Pricing fluctuated wildly between states, with states like Massachusetts dropping their pre-roll prices 28% on 4/20 compared to a 12% increase in pre-roll prices in Arizona.

Such pricing adjustments reflect a strategic approach to maximizing sales volume over immediate revenue per unit.

The Future of 4/20 Pre-Roll Sales

This year’s 4/20 has solidified the pre-roll category as a key driver of sales during significant cannabis holidays. With a 22% increase in sales year-over-year, the future looks promising for this segment. As legalization expands and markets like New York and Maryland mature, the demand for pre-rolls is expected to grow, driven by consumer awareness and the segment’s suitability for occasions like 4/20.For a more detailed analysis of the trends, impacts, and data from this year’s 4/20 pre-roll sales, check out the full report from Custom Cones USA here.