- Cannabis consumers vastly prefer regular old marijuana flower over other types of THC-infused products, according to new data from Headset shared exclusively with Business Insider.
- Consumers in legal states and Canada bought close to $3 billion worth of flower between January and July of this year. The next largest category, vaporizers, came in at just over $1.1 billion.
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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Cannabis consumers in US states where the drug is legal and in Canada still vastly prefer regular old marijuana over fancy new products like edibles, vaporizers, and concentrates, according to new data from cannabis analytics startup Headset exclusively shared with Business Insider.
Between January and the end of July, consumers bought close to $3 billion worth of cannabis flower in legal dispensaries in the US and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta, per Headset’s data. Vaporizers were the next largest category, as consumers bought just over $1.1 billion in the same time period.
While vaporizers are undoubtedly popular, their lagging sales could be a result of the illnesses linked to both THC and nicotine-containing vaporizers that spread throughout the US last year. Many of those illnesses were linked to vapes cut with vitamin E acetate procured on the illicit market.
On top of that, cannabis flower is generally the cheapest option at dispensaries. Average cannabis consumers may simply be looking for the most bang for their buck — budget options tend to outsell more pricey varieties, per Headset.
Read more: 3 cannabis execs share how they’re positioning their firms to profit as more US states are poised to legalize recreational marijuana
In Canada, sales of discount flower — less than $4.50 a gram — grew 83% over the three months ending on August 31, per Headset. Sales of premium brands — defined as over $9 a gram — grew only 7% over the same time period.
That’s leading executives at large cannabis companies to place a renewed emphasis on high quality, cheap flower, in an attempt to compete with the untaxed illicit market. In places like Canada and California, illicit growers offer cheaper prices for what many consumers say is higher quality marijuana compared to legal growers, eroding the legal market share, as The Guardian reported.
Aurora Cannabis CEO Miguel Martin said in a recent interview with Business Insider that he’s positioning the Canadian marijuana giant to take advantage of a “good, better, and best” strategy, with an emphasis on “value,” or discount options. Martin took the top job at Aurora, which has struggled and lost market share in recent months, earlier this month.
Canopy Growth CEO David Klein told Business Insider in an August interview that chipping away at the illicit market in Canada involves getting the “price equation” right, and offering cheaper, higher-quality marijuana to consumers.
“I think over time that will naturally begin to put pressure on the illicit market,” Klein said.
And despite the emphasis that deep-pocketed cannabis companies have placed recently on developing THC and CBD-infused beverages, Klein said they remain a long-term proposition.
“I think to win in cannabis in Canada over the next few years, you’re going to have to win at flower,” Klein said