Despite positive spin on the data, the Ontario Cannabis Store’s (OCS) latest sales report makes the provincial wholesaler and e-commerce/delivery monopoly look more like an unnecessary intermediary rather than a facilitator of cannabis sales.
Sales are up. Legal market share too. What’s the problem?
Even through COVID lockdowns, brick-and-mortar stores represented 88% of total sales in the third quarter of 2020. (Not a typo.) And from Q1 to Q2 2020, unique visitors to OCS.ca fell by a whopping 2 million, which correlates to private storefronts (finally!) opening. All this suggests that consumers really, really prefer to shop at private, neighbourhood cannabis retail stores rather than through OCS.ca.
In addition to the obvious consumer preference for private retail, the report shows that the legal market is eating away at the legacy market. AND, that legal prices are getting more competitive with the legacy market. So much so that with only 324 stores included the report – the private retailers are dominating the cannabis retail game in Ontario.
Which all begs the question…
We are well on our way to 1,000 new stores in Ontario. That fact, coupled with the undeniable consumer preference to buy local (and private) we should all be asking why the OCS is in the direct-to-consumer business?