Marijuana legalization efforts have faced an uphill battle. Once legalized, however, the plant has begun to take on many product forms, to consumer acclaim. Despite high taxes, black market competition, and onerous regulations, cannabis sales are through the roof. In fact, the global market is set to reach $40.6 billion by 2024. Consumers have an almost overwhelming number of cannabis products to choose from including chocolates, beverages, flower buds, capsules, transdermal patches, suppositories, and so much more.
After five months of unprecedented market growth in 2019, BDS Analytics took a look at retail sales across the major legal markets in the U.S. They combed through their GreenEdge™ Retail Sales Tracking database to find out the top 10 product categories of 2019 in Colorado, California, and Oregon between January and May 2019. If you’re curious about 2019’s consumer spending habits, consider this year’s most popular cannabis products.
Cannabis flower is the most traditional product compared to the diverse portfolio of products that exist today. Wholesale cannabis flower prices have suffered from a volatile market, but prices seem to be increasing recently due to the loosened rules on the hemp and cannabis industry. Despite a slightly diminished share of the market compared to previous years, cannabis flower continues to be the customer favourite with $768 million in sales across the three markets.
2. Vape Cartridges
Gone are the days where pre-rolled joints were the preferred portable marijuana product. In 2019, vaping has become an attractive alternative to smoking cannabis. For instance, California cannabis delivery company Eaze estimated that vape cartridge sales accounted for almost a quarter of their 2018 sales. Vape cartridge and accessories sales reached $473 million so far in 2019’s Colorado, California, and Oregon markets.
3. Pre-Rolled Joints
Data from 2017 shows high volatility in the marijuana pre-roll market. Analysts believe that pre-roll sales experience a summer surge and subsequent drop-off. Overall, pre-rolled joint sales have been on the rise. BDS Analytics looked at plain flower and concentrate-infused pre-roll sales in the three states. Hemp pre-rolls have also experienced an increase in visibility. Pre-rolled joints have earned $157 million in sales.
Cannabis-infused edibles are a convenient and delicious way to consume the active cannabinoids found in the plant. Consumers can choose from many sweet and sour gummy bites with low doses of cannabinoids to enjoy their mild effects. Many gummy companies take a health-conscious approach and use organic and vegan ingredients. Cannabis gummy sales reached $147 million in Colorado, California, and Oregon between January and May 2019.
5. Live Resin
Live resin is considered one of the most flavourful and aromatic concentrate options on the market. Live resin producers use frozen flower buds that contain a higher-than-normal number of trichomes that are packed with cannabinoids and terpenes. Live resin is typically more expensive, but concentrate connoisseurs are willing to pay for an improved experience. Extraction brands have sold $85 million of live resin according to BDS Analytics’ data.
Cannabis sublingual products are hot right now. From tablets to strips to drops, these cannabis-infused products enable users to easily dose and experience a fast onset of effects. Cannabis droppers, also known as tinctures, can be absorbed under the tongue or added into food or drinks. Their versatility as a product has earned them a spot in the top 10 product categories in 2019. Cannabis droppers accounted for $62 million in sales in Colorado, California, and Oregon.
7. Disposable Vapes
While vapes, in general, have become a go-to item for their convenience and potency, disposable vape pens enable users to experiment with concentrates without having to buy extra equipment. Disposable vape pens can feature cannabis distillate or full-spectrum oil with varying ratios of cannabinoids. Some are infused with terpenes to capture the essence of a strain or food such as desserts or fruit. Disposable vape sales have reached $62 million in 2019, so far.
Cannabis wax is a type of concentrate that has a soft texture and opaque colour. Wax textures range from viscous to crumbly. Consumers can choose from cannabis wax types such as budder, honeycomb, and crumble. Between January and May 2019, Colorado, California, and Oregon wax sales reached $40 million. As legalization continues, expect the demand for waxes and concentrates, in general, to grow.
Shatter has a hard, glass-like consistency and high cannabinoid levels. Shatter is typically produced using butane extraction to reap up to 90 percent THC. In Colorado’s early recreational market, shatter was the second-most popular concentrate type. Wax was number one. Today, shatter has taken a backseat to vapes, but continues to attract concentrate users. Based on BDS Analytics’ data, shatter has made $38 million in sales this year.
10. Chocolate Bars
In 2018, marijuana-infused chocolate bar sales increased 166 percent and CBD chocolate sales went up a whopping 530 percent. Chocolate bars once captured a larger share of the legal market. In 2014, chocolate bars made up 20 percent of Colorado’s edible market. Gummies captured 17 percent of Colorado’s edible market. Overall, chocolate bar popularity has dropped, but they remain a customer favourite. Chocolate bars earned $33 million in sales across the three major markets.
While 2019 may not be over, the mid-year sales data is a valuable signpost for where the cannabis market is headed. Views on cannabis legalization have become more accepting, enabling newer cannabis trends to develop. From big weed’s domination to social equity programs, the cannabis market is maturing and working out its kinks to better serve consumers and cannabis brands.