As cannabis consumer participation continues to rise and legal access improves across the country, the industry holds tremendous potential for growth. But regulatory constraints, oversupply and price pressure create challenges on the road to profitability, especially in mature markets. The dabbables category hasn’t escaped these hardships, but performance and pricing vary significantly among the various dabbable formats and subcategories, and these differences are important for brands and retailers to consider.
With that in mind, here are BDSA’s top data-driven insights on pricing trends in the dabbable concentrate category.
While price declines have hit all inhalable product categories, declines in the dabbable subcategory were not as steep as with flower
While other form factors such as vape products exploded in recent years, the dabbable sector now makes up a smaller share of total cannabis sales, with BDSA Retail Sales Tracking showing that dabbables made up ~7 percent of dollar sales across AZ, CA, CO, OR and MI in Q4 2022 compared to ~9 percent in Q4 2019. While smaller than the ~25 percent share of dollar sales that vapes claimed in Q4 2022, or the 37 percent of dollar sales made up by the flower category, the consistent sales and relatively stable pricing in the dabbable sector makes it worthwhile to keep quality dabbables within brand portfolios and product mixes.
In mature cannabis markets (AZ, CA, CO, OR, MI), equivalent average retail prices (EQ ARP) for flower fell from ~$7/gram in Q1 2021 to ~$4.50/gram in Q4 2022. The dabbable category also declined, dropping from ~$25/gram in Q1 2021, to just under $20/gram in Q4 2022.
While a 20 percent pricing decline is notable in any sector of the industry, the price compression seen in the dabbable sector is far outweighed by the flower category, which saw EQ ARPs fall by ~35 percent over this same period in these markets.
Live resin has seen significant price declines, but lower prices correspond to category growth and increased accessibility
Prized by consumers for superior taste and flavor, live resin products have been a dominant dabbable subcategory for years. Live resin made up ~38 percent of dollar dabbable sales in November 2022, bringing in ~$45 million for the month across all BDSA-tracked markets.
The live resin subcategory historically held higher prices at retail than other dabbables such as shatter and wax, but live resin also saw more dramatic price compression over the past twelve months as overall cannabis prices began to decline in 2021. BDSA Retail Sales Tracking data show that live resin ARP fell ~30 percent between Q1 2021 and Q4 2022 across AZ, CA, CO, OR and MI.
This significant dive in ARPs for live resin makes these dabbables more accessible to a wider range of consumers, as is evidenced by the share of dabbale unit sales growing from ~30 percent in Q4 2021 to ~35 percent in Q4 2022. BDSA Consumer Insights data show that 48 percent of adult-use consumers who prefer inhalables cite low price as a major reason, but inhalable consumers are also likely to choose products based on taste and flavor (with 35 percent citing this as a major influencer).
These preferences combined give live resin products, known for superior taste/flavor, an edge when compared to cured resin dabbables like wax and shatter. Wax and shatter ARPs have fallen to ~$16/gram and ~$13/gram, respectively, as live resin’s ARP across AZ, CA, CO, OR and MI has fallen to ~$21/gram. While live resin still holds a higher price point, the premium taste and flavor profiles that it offers can make products more appealing than wax or shatter, especially now that the difference in average price for live resin vs other formats is lower.
Despite sharp price declines, rosin prices remain higher than most other dabbables
Once seen as a fringe concentrate format prized by cannasseurs, rosin products have seen strong sales growth for the past few years, with BDSA Retail Sales Tracking showing that rosin’s share of dollar dabbable sales doubled between Q1 2020 and Q4 2022. Still, the category remains small, at $20 million in November 2022 across AZ, CA, CO, OR, and MI. The rosin subcategory has also seen more dramatic price compression than other dababble concentrates. Between Q1 2021 and Q4 2022, the ARP for rosin fell roughly 33 percent from $52.50/gram to $35, even more than other “premium” price point dabbables like live resin which fell 30 percent during the same period to an average of $21/gram.
Even with this sharp drop in price, rosin still demands a higher price at retail than competing form factors. In Q4 2022, BDSA Retail Sales Tracking show that rosin’s ARP across AZ, CA, CO, OR and MI was ~$35/gram, about ~45 percent higher than that of the total dabbable category, and ~40 percent higher than the ARP for live resin. In mature markets, rosin is starting to even become a standard of leading premium brands, with five of the top ten brands in the California market offering rosin products as of November 2022.
The hash and bubble hash subcategories have seen smaller declines than dabbable concentrates as a whole
Other solventless concentrate products such as bubble hash and hash have also experienced sustained price compression, but these smaller categories have seen less impact from price compression than the higher-priced rosin and live resin categories, or even to the dabbable category in aggregate.
Across AZ, CA, CO, OR, and MI, BDSA Retail Sales Tracking shows that bubble hash prices fell less than 15 percent between Q1 2021 and Q4 2022, while prices for hash have fallen just 12 percent across that same period.
All dabbable formats offer a unique appeal to consumers and a unique value-add to brands and retailers. Whether you’re building a product portfolio aimed at the most discerning dabber or the bargain shopper, understanding the shifting dynamics in the dabbable space will ensure optimal pricing and product strategy for the coming year.