The decline of flower, and the rise of branded products like edibles, topicals and concentrates, has been a big story in cannabis for a few years. With every quarter, we see consumers spending less of their cannabis money on flower, and more on other things.
So flower’s popularity with consumers must be declining, right?
Au contraire. In fact, flower’s share of the cannabis pie actually grew this year through October in Colorado, from 71 percent to 72 percent, compared to the same period last year according to cannabis market research firm BDS Analytics. But here’s the rub — that growth reflects units sold, rather than dollars forked over by consumers. In other words, dispensary shoppers are buying increasingly more Blue Dream, OG Kush and Durban Poison, but since prices are dropping dollar sales are declining, too. So in Colorado, where this year flower represents 72 percent of volume sold this year, it’s only 49 percent of dollars sold.
The differences between the two pie charts — dollars sold and units sold — tell starkly different stories in all states. If we examine sales in California, Colorado and Oregon for the period under review, we see flower harnessing 66 percent of all unit sales, followed by edibles and concentrates, which are at 9 and 10 percent respectively, and pre-rolls at 8 percent.
Over in the land of dollars-sold, things are much different. There, flower is just 41 percent of sales, followed by 31 percent for concentrates and 16 percent for edibles. Pre-rolls grab 7 percent.
Interestingly, consumers in the three states differ markedly in terms of how many grams of Sour Diesel and Northern Lights they buy every month.
Coloradans are the flower-happiest, devoting 72 percent of their purchases to sticky buds. And with edibles grabbing just 7 percent of unit sales, it’s the least edibles-enthusiastic state (but not by much).
Perhaps surprisingly — although the black market may help explain this data point — Californians are the least-crazy for flower. In terms of units sold, it represents 59 percent of sales. Meanwhile, they are the most devoted concentrates consumers; concentrates represent 12 percent of California unit sales.
Oregon sales fall somewhere between California and Colorado. Beaver Staters flower purchases represent 68 percent of unit sales, with edibles and concentrates tied at 8 percent. One stand-out for Oregonians? Pre-rolls, which capture 10 percent of the market in terms of unit sales.
Flower’s contributions to the money pot indeed are declining. But sales of it are just as popular as ever.
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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