The Panther Group
Cannabis skincare holiday gift

Retail insights: Cannabis topicals and beverages see holiday season’s biggest sales spike

‘Tis the season. BDSA expects strong sales for cannabis products across the board this month, including a 30% increase overall in the US market — both from gift giving and personal consumption. This makes sense. Cannabis consumers are more prevalent than ever before, and more people are at least open to trying cannabis. But how do we appeal to these potential holiday shoppers? Hint: the cannacurious are more likely to reach for a topical than a bong.

“We consistently see across the years that topical products experience among the biggest bump in sales this time of year,” says Kelly Nielsen, Vice President of Insights and Analytics at BDSA.

“Last year topicals saw more growth during the holiday season than the total market and edibles or vapes.”

According to BDSA, during the week leading up to Christmas, daily sales of cannabis topicals, such as skincare and pain salves, jumped 43% compared to the three weeks prior. Cannabis beverages see a similar jump in sales at this time, up 45% the week of December 18–24 in 2019.

The reason is simple: Cannabis topicals, such as the Green Bee Botanicals skincare pictured above, make great gifts, and beverages are festive, traditionally social ways to celebrate.  (Be it on a Zoom call or at Nana’s house, beverages are also a discreet and sessionable way to partake.)

“Along with edibles, skincare products and other topicals make popular gifts because they are among the most accessible entries into cannabis,” adds Nielsen. “Nearly 60% of those who are not current users would be likely to try a topical product. This is higher than either edibles or inhalable products.”

When you combine this data with other big consumer trends (including the following three), beauty magazines like Allure could be forgiven for calling this the ‘Marijuanaissance’

The secondary (gift) buyer is the fastest growing buyer segment in the cannabis market.

Sales of natural and “clean” products free of harmful ingredients are surging across the globe, especially in California, where all legal cannabis products are clean by definition due to stringent regulations and testing requirements.

Skincare sales surpassed makeup sales for the first time ever in the US this year, and the global CBD skincare market is forecast to skyrocket to $3.4 billion by 2026. The clean skincare segment is growing the fastest. 

Given that the biggest spike in sales happens the week leading up to Christmas, there is still time for dispensaries and delivery services to capitalize on these trends and increase sales. Here are the top four ways to do so.

  • Add in-store signage suggesting great gift items
  • Promote topicals and beverages more prominently on your website
  • Offer gift sets
  • Send cannabis gift guides highlighting topicals and beverages via text and email
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