Ontario Cannabis Industry Update from CannSell

If you’re reading this, then there’s a pretty good chance you’re one of the thousands of new employees in Ontario’s legal cannabis sector. We’re glad you’re here.

Despite the challenges of the past year, the cannabis industry is growing, and despite COVID-19-related health and safety restrictions on retailers, 84% of consumers chose to shop in-store, as opposed to ordering online for delivery through postal or licensed courier services. That’s amazing news for all of us, including the many newly-opened retail locations.

Seriously, great job everyone. We know many of you started your cannabis careers during tough times, and we’re proud to be here persevering alongside you.

The long-awaited return of retail in Ontario is finally upon us. The good news is that the end of restrictions on in-person shopping means your store can now offer better service to an even greater number of customers.

On the flip side, competition is fierce, and the range of products represented is growing rapidly. Here are a few key points for cannabis retail owners and employees, with statistics from the OCS Year in Review Report from April 1 2020 through March 31 2021:

  • As of March 31, 2021, there were 572 authorized cannabis retailers operating in 122 Ontario communities. This has since increased to more than 800.
  • Across the retail sector, all of this new competition meant that average sales per location took a hit, falling to an average of $389,000 per quarter, down from an average of $760,000 one year before.
  • This was also reflected in the volumes, with the average number of grams sold per store falling from 79,000 to 47,000 in the same period.
  • Ontario represents 29% of all national sales, and has the broadest catalogue of products available in Canada with 1,386 unique SKUs available as of March 31, 2021.
  • Lastly, there is some good news for you licensed brick and mortar operators and employees. Consumers shopping in retail stores are less price sensitive compared to those shopping on the OCS, and for the first time, the average cost per gram of dried flower in retail stores fell below that of the illegal market, coming in at $8.87 and $9.59 per gram respectively.

What does all this mean for the next few months? It’s hard to say exactly. Overall cannabis retail sales are likely to see a bump along with the wider recovery as Ontario’s economy gets back on its feet. That said, the number of new stores opening and new licenses being applied for doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

With more retail locations and products on the shelves than ever before, staying relevant to consumers is going to come down to customer service. Good customer service comes from informed and knowledgeable budtenders. CannSell now offers both our Expert Certification and our Gold Standard Certification to recognize stores that go above and beyond in training their staff to meet the challenges and opportunities of our growing industry.  The CannSell Expert program equips budtenders and store managers with advanced knowledge of cannabis. It is for individuals looking to offer outstanding customer service by providing a thorough understanding of cannabis consumers and products. It takes a deeper dive into topics beyond the CannSell Standard Certification, providing key insights into subjects such as cannabis genetics, products and accessories, and growing practices.  Learn more about the CannSell Expert program here.

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