Marijuana consumers return to pre-pandemic shopping hours, favoring evenings versus the daytime

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As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted work, school and life schedules, it also caused marijuana buyers to change when they shopped, shifting from the evening hours to the daytime.

A year later that pattern is returning to normal, with more shoppers visiting cannabis retail outlets in the evening.

Retailers in general, including marijuana outlets, experienced shifting peak hours after the outbreak of the pandemic as consumers sought safer, more-convenient shopping experiences during the day versus the evening.

Many consumers were able to shop at different times because of new working conditions, or they deliberately avoided popular times.

Knowing and understanding that peak shopping hours are shifting back will allow cannabis retailers to better predict their scheduling needs.

Analysis of hourly adult-use marijuana sales data showed that the percentage of evening sales – those after 5 p.m. – declined several percentage points in the months after the pandemic-related shutdowns of mid-March.

At the beginning of February 2020, 6% of sales were made in the 8 p.m. hour.

Once the coronavirus-spurred shutdowns went into effect, that figure dropped to 4% of sales, according to data provided by Seattle-based analytics firm Headset.

The data reflects adult-use marijuana retailers in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state. The Oregon data includes medical marijuana sales information.

With schools closed and much of the country working from home or unemployed, marijuana shoppers were able to shift their buying to the daytimes hours of 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

And new retailer programs – including online shopping, curbside pickup and delivery – provided more options for shoppers adjusting to a range of stay-at-home orders.

Marijuana businesses were declared essential services in much of the United States as the pandemic began to spread across the country, and many wondered if cannabis consumer trends would be changed forever.

But a year later, buyers are returning to evening shopping at almost pre-coronavirus levels while shunning daytime shopping.

Last week, sales during the 8 p.m. hour were 5.85%, nearly in line with February 2020 numbers.

Andrew Long can be reached at