Colorado recreational marijuana sales boom in month of March
DENVER — Recreational marijuana sales in Colorado eclipsed $105 million in March 2018, the highest monthly total for adult-use sales in the program’s history.
The record-breaking month is part of a broader, seasonal trend playing out in Colorado’s rec market, where sales have consistently spiked in early spring, midsummer and around holidays.
Seasonal sales trends are common in the retail landscape. Sales of lawn and garden equipment, for example, jump in the spring, while pens, pencils and notebooks all experience major sales boosts around back-to-school season in late summer.
But the marijuana industry is still in its infancy, and only recently has there been enough data to observe these reliable, repeatable sales trends.
And the data shows that March is an especially important month for Colorado’s cannabis retailers, as it marks the beginning of peak sales season.
Historically, adult-use revenue surges in March, ramps up in the summer months and plateaus around August or September.
The sales increase in Colorado in March 2018 was particularly notable, with adult-use revenue up more than 23% from February. On a percentage basis, that represents the largest month-over-month sales gain in Colorado’s rec market in more than three years.
Here’s what you need to know about recreational marijuana sales in Colorado in the month of March:
—In every year since 2014, adult-use sales records have been set in March. Although March sales totals are eventually surpassed by sales in August or September, there has yet to be an instance where sales in March were less than any month in the previous year.
—In 2017, sales in March accounted for 8.5% of total adult-use revenue for the year. If that holds true in 2018, Colorado’s rec market will reach approximately $1.25 billion — a 14% increase over adult-use sales in 2017.
—Since Colorado’s adult-use industry launched in 2014, the largest month-over-month sales increases each year have come in March, with 2016 as the only exception. While some of these gains can be attributed to February being a short month, average daily sales in March also tend to be about 8%-12% higher than in February.
—Tourists may contribute to the uptick in rec sales in March, but in-state customers likely drive most of the sales gains. Hotel occupancy in Denver was up 7 percentage points in March 2018 compared to February 2018. But, according to Google search trends, tourism season doesn’t kick off until May. Average temperatures in Denver break 50 degrees for the first time each year in March, and the change from February represents the largest month-over-month temperature increase of the year. Furthermore, daylight saving time kicks off in March, giving Coloradans more time to socialize and enjoy the warmer weather.
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