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Persevering product categories: Where BDSA sees strong growth in time of continued price compression

In such a young industry, cannabis brands must be able to quickly adjust to new trends, including shifts in product category share. The cannabis product mix follows a general trend across BDSA-tracked markets, but market conditions can drastically change this product mix. 

One of the most notable examples was in 2019, when vape sales took a nosedive due to regulatory and consumer concern over EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury), despite no affected products being tracked to the legal channel. A more recent example occurred in 2022, when price compression and regulatory strain across the industry coincided with marked changes in the cannabis category mix. As legal cannabis markets have become increasingly competitive due to price compression that topped 20 percent in some markets, identifying categories that present strong growth opportunities will be a focus for many brands looking to capture (or hold onto) shoppers’ share of wallet.

Rosin in the dabbable sector

One clear product trend in 2022 was the move toward solventless products, particularly in the concentrate sector. BDSA Retail Sales Tracking shows that rosin’s share of dabbable dollar sales has grown significantly, especially in mature markets (CA, CO, OR, MI, IL), where rosin’s share grew from 8 percent in January 2021 to 16 percent in October 2022. 

One reason for this increase is that price compression has made these previously exclusive concentrates much more accessible in mature markets. In the California market, the equivalent ARP for Rosin has fallen ~33 percent between Q3 2021 and Q3 2022, making this form factor that was once seen as a fringe product for the most discerning consumers much more affordable for a broader range of the consumer base.

Top rosin dabbable brand (October 2022) – 710 Labs – CA, CO

Disposable vapes

Vapes have been a major chunk of the legal market since adult use began, with the vape category making up ~25 percent of total cannabis dollar sales in October 2022 across all BDSA-tracked markets. Around three years ago, the share of disposable vapes began to fall as consumers became more experienced and favored quality and value over the convenience of trialing disposable vape products. However, that trend flipped on its head in 2022. Between October 2021 and October 2022, dollar sales of disposable vapes grew ~25 percent across all BDSA-tracked markets, significantly higher than the ~10 percent growth seen in the vape cartridge subcategory across the same time period.

This isn’t just a new-market trend overshadowing mature markets, as even Colorado and California are following this resurgence of disposable vapes. In the California market, monthly disposable vape dollar sales saw ~25 percent growth between October 2021 and October 2022, even as the vape category as a whole has stagnated in the state.

Top disposable vape brand (October 2022) – Breeze Chill – MI

Infused pre-rolls

Previously an insignificant share of overall pre-roll and inhalable sales, infused pre-roll sales saw dramatic growth in 2022. Infused pre-rolls share of total pre-roll dollar sales grew from ~25 percent in October 2021 to ~35 percent in October 2022 across all BDSA tracked markets. Some markets saw infused pre-rolls take an even greater share of total pre-roll sales in 2022. In the California market, infused pre-rolls made up ~55 percent of total pre-roll sales in October 2022.

Top infused preroll brand (October 2022) – Jeeter – AZ, CA, MI 

CBN-infused Edibles

A handful of minor cannabinoids have captured interest in legal cannabis markets in 2022, but the minor cannabinoid seeing that interest best translate into sales is CBN. Between October 2021 and October 2022, dollar sales of edibles containing CBN grew by ~40 percent across all BDSA-tracked markets. All of the top-five edible brands in California offer at least one CBN product, indicating that this cannabinoid is well on its way to becoming a mainstay in the cannabis ingestible space. This is especially true when we consider that a desire to sleep better is the most cited (45 percent of consumers in adult-use states) benefit of edible consumption.

CBN offers a crucial value add to edible brands in this era of ongoing price pressure, with BDSA Pricing Analytics data showing that CBN edibles held an average retail price that was ~20 percent higher than the average retail price for all edibles.

Top CBN edible brand (October 2022) – Wyld – AZ, CA, CO, IL, MI, NV, OR

With price compression putting strain on all segments of the cannabis industry, brands must optimize product assortments to stay ahead of the curve. Trends in the industry may come and go, but a brand that stays nimble and can adjust to the demands of the growing and increasingly sophisticated consumer base is sure to reap the benefits going forward.

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