Cannabis sales grew over 140% in BC over past year

Sales of cannabis in British Columbia grew 140% over the past year, according to a recently released annual report from the provincial cannabis distributor, while prices of dried flower declined by 24%.

The BC LDB, the agency that manages alcohol and cannabis distribution in the province, recently released their annual performance report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, covering the evolution of cannabis and alcohol sales and distribution throughout the province. 

Stimulated by an increasing amount of cannabis stores and greater product diversity, as well as spikes in sales related to covid-restrictions, the LDB’s total sales for the fiscal year 2020-2021 was $1.2 billion. 

Cannabis sales more than doubled from the previous year, increasing from $191.4 million to $327.3 million. The majority of sales continue to be in the dried flower, pre-roll, extracts and concentrates categories.

During the last year, the LDB completed their first Wholesale Customer Service Satisfaction Survey of private cannabis retailers, and added 127 new private retail stores, and nearly doubling the assortment of products to 1,062 from 99 different licensed suppliers, compared to 591 products from 50 licensed suppliers in the fiscal year prior.

The province also made changes to how private retailers could do business, allowing online order for curbside pickup, and more recently, allowing retailers to deliver products ordered online. 

The average price per gram of dried flower declined by 24% year over year, which the LDB says was driven by “larger format offerings” such as ounces.

The BC Cannabis stores (BCCS) also developed a customer survey approach utilizing tablets on free-standing lecterns in order to collect feedback and rate satisfaction but had to curtail their use due to covid. However, seven months of data was gathered, from over 5,000 responses, resulting in a score of 86% satisfaction. In future years, the customer survey tablets will be rotated through five different stores every quarter. 

Source: BC LDB

The BCCS also implemented a plastic shrink wrap recycling program that it says increased the diversion of waste from landfills within the provincial stores from 67% to 95%.   

The LDB also opened 10 new BC Cannabis Stores from March 2020 – March 2021. In fiscal year 2020/21, there were 1.1 million transactions through BCCS and eCommerce, a 92.7% increase compared to the 632,000 transactions over the previous year. The average retail transaction in the BCCS in 2020/21 was $62.78, an increase of 9.5% compared to the average transaction value of $57.31 in the prior year. 

Source: BC LDB

The warehouse inventory turned over six times, indicating that inventory was held on average for 60 days.

Cannabis sales accounted for 7.9% of LDB sales over the past year, compared to liquor which accounts for 92.1%. In the previous year, cannabis sales were only 3.5% of LDB sales, marking an increase of more than 100%.

The province also sold 54,266 kilograms of cannabis.

The province says they will continue to make adjustments to the retail and distribution program, and has said in the past that they are focussing on a new “farm to gate” cannabis program to allow some growers to sell their own product on-site, as well as a “direct sales” model that is said to allow producers to potentially ship product directly to retailers.

The LDB and Cannabis Secretariat in BC have not yet provided specifics on what those programs will look like, although early messaging has suggested they may limit the farmgate sales to only cultivators.

Although the annual report contains an intro letter from the LDB’s General Manager and Chief Executive Officer dated July 26, the report was not posted publicly until August 31.

BC currently lists 27 BC Cannabis stores as open for business, along with 346 private retailers.