Savvy dispensary owners, manufacturers and consumers anticipated significant price variation in the months following California’s launch into recreational marijuana. Most people expected prices to rise, and they did, for nearly everything sold through a dispensary.
The rise of prices across the board happened largely due to regulatory and taxation changes that came with the pivot to rec. It is largely out of the control of dispensary owners, grows and manufacturers, and not especially useful data for market strategy. But some price-oriented data are of immense use to industry stakeholders, including price variation for different categories, like edibles and concentrates. How are items like chocolate bars priced, and what prices sell the most bars? Data like these not only reveal how things are shaking out now — they also unearth pricing trends, often showing how one price range is growing in popularity and others are declining.
Edibles is the most diverse category in terms of pricing. If we examine California for January through March, we find the edibles marketplace supports items that sell for less than $5 as well as those priced between $50 and $54.99, according to data from cannabis market research firm BDS Analytics.
For this time period, items priced between $10 and $14.99 represented the most units sold, followed by $15-$19.99 and in third place items $25-$29.99. But sales of items priced below $5 spiked rapidly during the period, while those priced $5-$9.99, which in January were more popular than the under-$5 products, fell behind the cheaper products.
Two of the more dramatic edibles price fluctuations during the period took place with tinctures and infused foods. In January, tinctures priced between $30 and $34.99 were No. 1 by a healthy margin. But those priced between $40 and $44.99 rocketed up and overtook the cheaper products as the most popular by March. With infused foods, items priced between $15 and $19.99 rose fast, surpassing those priced between $10 and $14.99 by the end of quarter.
Topicals experienced an unusual pair vying for top billing. Items priced between $40 and $44.99, which were less popular in January, became No. 1 by March. But the competition is stiff, and it’s from the other end of the price spectrum — those between $15 and $19.99 snagged second place.
The concentrates market underwent a fair bit of gyrations during the quarter, but by the end products between $30 and $34.99 held a commanding lead followed by $35 to $39.999 and $25 and $29.99. Since vapes completely control the concentrates market the pricing variation for concentrates is mirrored in vapes.
The recreational market is new to California, and pricing strategies are sure to fluctuate substantially as the market matures. The trick is finding the sweet spot — the cheapest is often not the best-selling product in any industry. The strategic strategy revolves more often around the mid-range and upscale price range, and differences of just a few dollars can make all of the difference.