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Porn and Pot Surged During the Pandemic—But Which Performed Best?

While pot and pornography boasted impressive fan bases before the pandemic, both industries have seen an increase in users.

Porn And Pot Surged During The Pandemic—But Which Performed Best?
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The COVID-19 pandemic led to shifts in every global habit, from school to work to sex and beyond. While activity came to a halt in many areas of life, others saw increased attention. Two tendencies that saw significant spikes in use were marijuana and pornography. 

Granted, pot and porn carried massive fan bases before the stay-at-home orders. However, the last few months saw usage numbers in both swell as the world used copious amounts of each for relief. While both continue to surge into the early days of summer, industry insights reveal just how well each performed during the pandemic’s first few months. 

An Essential Service: Marijuana Performs Well During the Pandemic

Marijuana mostly continues to perform better than most markets but hasn’t escaped unscathed. 

Scores of cannabis consumers raced to stock up on their stash before the stay-at-home orders began to take effect across the globe. Scenes of long lines forming at dispensaries were spotted in the Netherlands, Canada and the United States—which may have helped nudge the hands of many lawmakers when deciding if dispensaries would stay open during the crisis. 

In the end, much of the American and Canadian markets indeed remained open as the quarantine orders took effect. Deemed an essential service, dispensaries shifted gears to serve patients and, in some markets, adult-use consumers, in a social distancing-compliant fashion. 

The decision appears to have paid off. Patients were able to ensure their treatments remained consistent during the pandemic. At the same time, many adult-use consumers received a mental and physical coping mechanism when one was sorely needed. Providing individuals with their cannabis also resulted in revenue that many states and cities’ are otherwise lacking at the moment. 

By late March, the reports of long lines outside of dispensaries were shifting to delivery and curbside service. The mandatory pivots made by the industry did little to nothing to harm many major markets. Sales continued to surge in several states and Canadian provinces through the month.

Optimism carried through much of the industry heading into April. However, by early May, sales figures revealed varied market performances. Legal market sales soared in Washington State and California while sinking in Colorado and Nevada. In California’s case, its growth, while positive, fell short of the pre-market growth it saw in previous months.

The mixed results continued for America’s five leading adult use markets in May. More mixed results continued on the job front, where layoffs, which began before the pandemic, continued, with the virus adding fuel to the fire. The result saw more firings and furloughs taking place in the industry. However, some job loss was offset by a surge in temporary hiring across the cannabis industry. 

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Porn Use Grows as the World Stays Inside

People like pot, but they love porn. Be it pre-COVID or during, people have sexual fantasies, and pornography is there to satisfy them. 

CAM4 users consumed 89,719 days worth of content in the first six weeks of the shutdown, compared to the 77,000 days consumed the six weeks prior—resulting in a 35-year increase in content consumption. The site highlighted Italy, Brazil and Spain as leaders in the surge. 

The company noted all viewer engagement metrics on the rise during the quarantine, with hundreds of thousands of new accounts registering, representing a 24% increase. In all, CAM4 reported a 12.1% revenue increase, totaling an undisclosed amount of millions, according to the company. 

Additionally, CAM4 Communications Manager, Shannon McD, told High Times the site saw a 35% increase in new viewers, with a 61% increase in first-time broadcasters. McD believes that porn is past the days of stigmatization and being a taboo. “It’s refreshing to see folks finally embracing sex work as real work, either as a viewer or first-time broadcaster.”

Porn And Pot Surged During The Pandemic—But Which Performed Best?
Courtesy of CAM4

Adult industry giant Pornhub released its most recent site data in late May. Like the spread of the virus, traffic changes on the streaming giant became apparent in Europe. Data points provided highlighted a 24% increase around March 25, when Pornhub offered free premium access. Yet, despite North America seeing its shutdown orders called in later, Pornhub was noticing changes beforehand, with 6 and 7% spikes in the U.S. and Canada on March 17.

Meanwhile, PornHub visitors logged 1.4 million searches for “Covid” and 11 million for “quarantine” during the analysis window. 

Both Markets See Impressive Growth

There is no denying that both cannabis and pornography saw significant gains across the market. Much of the U.S. and Canada’s legal marketplaces saw impressive performances, further solidifying the narrative that marijuana is an essential item to patients and adult-use consumers. However, its struggles in individual states indicate problem areas, whether they are regulatory or from thriving illicit markets. 

The adult industry tends to offer less robust financial statements in most cases, leaving room for speculation as to how it performed during the pandemic. However, the data provided by CAM4 and Pornhub reveal that ample amounts of people turned to adult content when their access to the outside world was cut off. 

Evan Seinfeld, founder and CEO of adult platform IsMyGirl, believes that regardless of a person’s vice, they’ll eventually turn to porn. “Humans crave stimulation, to feel something,” Seinfeld stated. The CEO reported a doubling in web traffic, with 50% daily traffic increases on “slower days.” 

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Daniel Saynt, founder and chief conspirator of New York City’s cannabis and kink community, the New Society for Wellness (NSFW) said both vice industries have seen impressive gains in recent months. He reported that the city’s legal and illicit sales continue to boom. However, the proponent for pot and sexual exploration gives the edge to porn. 

The NSFW founder credited adult stars and models for finding ways to create income when studios shut down. Turning to a site like CAM4, IsMyGirl, OnlyFans and more created a new pipeline for the industry, according to Saynt. “This has created a whole new category of paid porn which is on path to greatly overpass the studio porn model,” Saynt stated. 
He added, “It’s become such a trending topic that even Beyonce was name dropping OnlyFans.”

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  1. Avatar

    Mazie Mine

    July 22, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Hey yeah
    .. that might be a work force I will check into

    .. PORN..
    .🥰

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