We have watched the concentrates market grow in Colorado since recreational sales began in January of 2014, and the expansion of enthusiasm for concentrates has been marked.
The concentrates styles wax and shatter fairly dominated the market for all of 2014 and half of 2015, with other categories like bubble hash, live resin and caviar enjoying strong sales as well, according to data from BDS Analytics, one of the leading market research firms in the cannabis industry.
But holding third place for much of the time was the vape style of concentrate. These products include oil-filled cartridges that fit into pens as well as pens sold either with cartridges as part of a set, or disposable pens that are sold with THC concentrate within the pens; when the pen runs out of concentrate, it’s time to throw away the pen.
Vapes sold well from the very beginning of recreational sales, but tended to fall behind both wax and shatter for all of 2014 and roughly the first half of 2015. In June of 2015, however, vape sales pulled slightly ahead of shatter sales, gaining second place behind wax.
For the rest of the year, wax, shatter and vape jockeyed for market-share lead, all of them fairly near one another in terms of sales. The fight for concentrates dominance continued through half of 2016. But in July, vape pulled away from the pack, with $7 million in sales, compared to $6 million each for wax and shatter. Ever since, vape has led the concentrates category.
With fresh May data from Colorado, we now see vapes fully commanding the lead, with sales rocketing up from $11 million in April to $13 million in May, while shatter declined from $9 million to $8 million and wax sales remained steady at around $6 million for April and May.
The trend is mirrored in Oregon, where sales of concentrates in recreational stores are just a year old. Through May, 2017, in the Beaver State, vape sales dominate, with $6 million in sales in May compared to $1 million for its nearest competitor, shatter. Vapes rule in Washington as well, although not as dramatically as in Oregon.
Sales for vapes took off during the latter half of 2016 in Colorado, and the trend is gaining traction during 2017. In January of this year, for example, vapes captured 32 percent of the concentrates market. By May, however, the category took away more market share from other subcategories, rising to 38 percent of the market.
So far, at least, 2017 is looking like the year of the vape.