The most persistently muscular year-over-year growth (in dollar sales) in the cannabis industry during the past few years has revolved around concentrates. Yes, the entire industry in states like Colorado, Oregon, Washington and California grows every year, and subcategories, like gummies, have experienced jet-fueled growth in many states. But when we examine large categories — flower, edibles, topicals and concentrates — it’s the world of shatter, wax, Live Resin and The Mighty Vape that makes especially impressive gains month after month.
The concentrates growth machine has chugged along during the first half of 2018, and given the size of the category — second only to flower in every state — continued strong growth is doubly impressive. This isn’t some petite slice of the industry that doubled in size in a year due to $300,000 in sales. It’s on track for sales in excess of $1 billion in 2018 in Colorado, Oregon and California alone, according to cannabis market research firm BDS Analytics.
Sales of concentrates during the first half of 2018 in Colorado dispensaries reached $226.7 million, a figure representing growth of 22 percent over the same period last year. But when we look at Adult Use sales, growth is even more impressive: 43 percent, on sales of $175 million.
Colorado’s concentrates are the most affordable among Colorado, Oregon and California, at $24.10. The market-share breakdown for concentrates sees vapes leading with 43 percent (a market share that is dwarfed by that in other states), followed by wax, shatter and Live Resin.
Growth was predictably strong for vapes — up 72 percent in the Adult Use channel. But vape growth was not the market leader during the period. Instead, sales of Live Resin pushed growth to 127 percent in the Centennial State.
Up 68 percent overall, on sales of $85.8 million — that’s growth! It’s even higher in the Adult Use channel, with sales of $75.3 million and growth of 78 percent. The average retail in Oregon is nearly 10 bucks than in Colorado: $32.63.
Consumers in the Beaver State, like the Golden one, are crazier for vapes than those Centennial State slackers. Vapes in Oregon captured 70 percent of market share during the first half of 2018, with shatter, oils and Live Resin trailing.
Vape growth in the Adult Use channel was higher, at 91.5 percent. And as it was in Colorado — Live Resin growth was smokin’. Oregonians bought enough Live Resin during the first half of 2018 to boost sales by 268 percent.
We can’t explore year-over-year growth in California, due to the dramatic regulatory and marketplace changes between 2017 and 2018. But we can examine growth since January of this year, compared to June. But with one caveat: Relatively few dispensaries were legally selling cannabis in California when Adult Use regulations began, and we only consider legal sales. During the past six months of this year, the number of dispensaries has grown quite a bit. So CA growth this year reflects not just boosted consumer demand — it also reflects an increased number of stores legally selling cannabis products.
Concentrate sales for the first half of 2018 in the Golden State hit $358 million, with vapes capturing 79 percent of sales, Live Resin 6 percent, and wax 4 percent. The average retail of $36.80 makes it the most expensive state for concentrates among the states being examined.
In January, Californians dropped $33.8 million on concentrates. Six months later, in June, they spent $80.7 million. That’s growth of 139 percent during the six-month period.
Vapes in January? $26.6 million in sales. In June, sales rose to $62.2 million, representing six-month growth of 134 percent.
That’s awesome, but again — we have yet to review Live Resin. Sales in January were $1 million. But in June, they had vaulted to $6.8 million, representing growth of 580 percent. That’s not just smokin’ — that’s a blaze.
Growth in concentrates? It keeps on truckin’.
Douglas Brown spent more than two decades in newspaper and magazine newsrooms around the country, covering everything from the White House and Capitol Hill to technology policy to crime in New Mexico. Now, he runs Contact High Communications, a leading cannabis public relations firm based in Boulder, CO. He can be reached at www.contacthighco.com
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