BDSA cannabis retailer insights: Top trends in pack size and purchasing

Cannabis sales trends and consumer preferences in product attributes come and go as quickly as a glob of wax dropped on a red-hot piece of quartz. One trend that fits this bill is the interest in low-potency or smaller-pack-size products, and other products geared toward consumers seeking a mild, functional experience. But abundant supply across most legal markets has significantly pushed down cannabis prices, making larger-pack-sized products more affordable. A cost-conscious, experienced cannabis consumer base has taken advantage of these price drops, with BDSA Retail Sales Tracking showing large-pack-size products making up a greater share of sales across major categories, with mature markets seeing a shift of up to 30% in dollar sales toward larger pack sizes in specific product categories.

Vape market leaning toward full gram products

The trend toward larger pack size is especially apparent in the vape sector, where potency is largely comparable, and brands have seen consumers hunting for value in a crowded marketplace. BDSA Retail Sales Tracking shows that vapes sales have significantly shifted toward larger-pack-size products, with full-gram vape cartridges being the largest pack size across most BDSA-tracked markets in 2022. This shift toward full-gram vapes is most apparent in mature markets. In the Colorado market, dollar sales of full-gram vapes have grown by more than a third between June 2021 and June 2022, while dollar sales of half-gram vapes have fallen by ~30% during that same period.

Half-gram dabbables: a waning product format

In dabbable concentrates, we have seen a shift away from the half-gram single pack with full grams  taking the lead. This trend is apparent across most legal markets, with developing markets seeing a rapid race toward full grams. A good example is in Michigan, where the share of unit dabbable sales for half gram packs has fallen from ~5% to ~1% share in just the first six months of 2022. We’re also seeing a trend toward multi-packs that include two half-gram separate concentrate strains in a single-gram package.

Bulk flower on the rise, full ounce packs dominate Colorado SKU rankings

Flower has followed the trend of larger pack sizes dominating top product rankings. In the mature Colorado market, eighth packs of flower saw their share of flower unit sales fall from ~60% in January 2022 to ~55% in June 2022, while ounce, half-ounce and quarter-ounce packs all saw their share of unit flower sales gradually increase over the first six months of the year. Colorado’s flower market is a key example of how experienced consumers (who in many markets make up a bulk of legal dollar sales) don’t seem to mind larger pack sizes. In fact, we see full-ounce and half-ounce flower packs dominating Colorado SKU rankings.

In conclusion…

The consumer landscape is incredibly varied, and there is no single profile that fits all cannabis consumers. That said, BDSA data suggest that a significant portion of cannabis sales are driven by experienced “cannasseurs,” who shop often, consume daily, and recognize the benefits of buying in bulk. BDSA Consumer Insights data show that ~70% of inhalable consumers in adult-use states use cannabis daily, with many users consuming multiple times throughout the day. Catering to every consumer segment is important, but with wholesale price declines putting pressure on every segment of the industry, and higher-than-ever costs of packaging and labor, brands and retailers have much to gain by catering to the needs of the cannabis cannasseurs who make up a significant portion of sales volume and repeat purchases.


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