Cannabis Capsules, Tinctures & Sublinguals, and Oils: A look at the data
January 28, 2022
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We don’t often examine so many cannabis categories in a single report, but some interesting trends emerge when Capsule, Tincture & Sublingual, and Oil categories are compared in the US and Canada. Oils, not to be confused with cannabis Concentrates or cooking oils, are comparable to how we categorize Tincture products in the US. Tincture & Sublingual products in the US are largely formulated with cannabis extract infused into water or alcohol. Since Canadian operators are unable to infuse alcohol products, we will examine the Oil category for Canada and Tincture & Sublinguals in the US. Throughout the report, we will explore market share through time for these categories, average item price through time, which package sizes consumers are purchasing in the US and Canada, and we will also highlight the brands leading the market.
When we look at the combined market share for the US and Canada, we can see that the Capsules, Tinctures & Sublinguals, and Oil categories (CTSO), are stabilizing at just below the 1% mark. When we examine market share of these categories in individual states and provinces, we see that Capsules perform well in Canadian provinces with Manitoba, British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta in the lead for market share in 2021. Average item prices for all three categories have declined in the past two years. For example, the average item price of Oil started January 2020 at $42.83 per unit but dropped 20% by December 2021 to $34.78 per unit. When we compare package sizes of these categories between the US and Canada, we notice that the trends are quite different between the two countries. For example, when we look at Capsules, the 0mg-5mg package size is the most popular in Canada with 35.4% unit volume. In the US on the other hand, the most popular package size of Capsules is 1000mg of THC with 32.7% of total unit volume.
Data for this report comes from real-time sales reporting by participating cannabis retailers via their point-of-sale systems, which are linked to Headset’s business intelligence software. Headset’s data is very reliable, as it comes digitally direct from our partner retailers. However, the potential does exist for misreporting in the instance of duplicates, incorrectly classified products, inaccurate entry of products into point-of-sale systems, or even simple human error at the point of purchase. Thus, there is a slight margin of error to consider.
In this report we examine sales in markets where Headset provides Insights data. This includes CA, CO, WA, NV, OR, IL, MA, MI, and AZ in the US and AB, ON, BC, SK in Canada. We present all data in local currency and do not make adjustments for currency fluctuations.
Category market share in the US & Canada
In this first chart, we are looking at the market share for Capsules, Oil, and Tinctures & Sublinguals in both the US and Canada from January 2020 - December 2021. Tinctures & Sublinguals experienced the largest decrease in market share during this period, dropping in half from 1.74% to 0.85%.
Capsule market share has decreased slightly overall in combined market share, but the category is showing resilience and market share has been trending slightly up towards the end of 2021.
The Oil category is the smallest contributor to the combined markets, which is unsurprising since it is tracked in Canadian markets only. Between January 2020 and December 2021, Oil’s market share has decreased from 0.66% to 0.4%.
Category share within the CTSO group
In this chart, we dig a little bit deeper into the market share of these three cannabis categories by comparing the share of each of these categories amongst the group. As we saw in the prior graph, the Capsules category was showing some slight growth towards the end of 2021. In this graph, we see that within the total share of these combined categories in the US and Canada, Capsules have grown about 10%. Category share of Oils within total CTSO sales have remained relatively constant throughout this two-year time period. Tinctures & Sublinguals have shown the largest decrease in relative share, dropping from 51% to 41% among CTSO sales.
Market share in states and provinces in 2021
Here we look at the combined market share of Capsules, Tinctures & Sublinguals, and Oils in individual states and provinces. As we can see, the Oil category is exclusively tracked in Canada unlike Tinctures & Sublinguals, which see sales in both countries.
At first glance, you can quickly see that Capsules and Oils are doing well in Canadian provinces with Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta leading in combined market share for 2021. Oil products command over double the market share of Capsule products during the same time period in the Canadian provinces as well.
In the US, California and Massachusetts have the highest combined market shares for Capsules and Tinctures & Sublinguals categories. In 2021, sales to these categories in California accounted for just over 3% of total market sales. In Massachusetts, cannabis consumers purchased Capsules and Tinctures & Sublingual products 1.8% of the time, followed by Oregon at 1.7%. Since sales of Capsules are not allowed in Oregon, this market share is made entirely of Tinctures & Sublinguals.
What types of cannabis Capsules are consumers buying?
Next, we focus on the Capsule category. In this breakdown, we can compare segments within the Capsules category in the US and Canada.
Looking at Capsule sales in Canada, we can see that the majority of sales can be attributed to Hybrid products and products that contain CBD/CBN. These two segments combined make up just over 80% of total Capsule sales in Canada.
In the US, products that contain CBD/CBN made up only 21% of sales in 2021. This is just over half of the share that we see in Canada over the same time period. Instead, the Indica and Sativa designated segments accounted for 34% of all category sales in 2021. The same two segments combined made up 18% of Capsule sales in Canada.
Suppositories have been excluded here, as they only made up 0.2% in the US and 0% in Canada.
Prices of Capsules, Tinctures & Sublinguals, and Oils
Now let’s look at average item prices (AIP) for these three categories from January 2020 - December 2021. In general, we can see that all three categories saw a steady decline in AIP as the US and Canadian markets have continued to mature over this two-year period.
The Oil category’s AIP started at $42.83 per unit in January of 2020 but dropped over 20% by the end of 2021, finishing in December at $34.78 per unit. Capsules and Tinctures & Sublinguals both saw a nearly identical decrease in AIP at 20% and 19%, respectively.
How have prices changed?
In this graph we are once again looking at the AIP for each category, but now we are looking at the annual change to see how much of a difference a year can make.
In 2020, the average item price across all months for Capsules was $28.27. In 2021, the average item price across all months was $25.69, resulting in a year over year decrease of 9.1%.
Using the same method, we can see that the Oil category experienced the greatest year over year decrease in AIP of the three categories at 10.3%. The Tincture & Sublingual category’s decrease in annual AIP was 8.6%.
Package sizes of cannabis Oils and Tinctures & Sublinguals
In this next chart, we compare package sizes of Tinctures & Sublinguals in the US to their Canadian Oil counterparts. Before we get started, you’ll notice that the units of measure vary in each country. In Canada package sizes of Oils are typically measured in milliliters of liquid, compared to milligrams of THC for Tinctures & Sublinguals in the US.
Looking closer at Canadian Oils, the dominant package in 2021 was 30 ml. This single package size accounted for over 78% of all Oil product unit volume. The next two popular package sizes in Canada in 2021 were 20ml products (13%) and 15ml products (3.9%).
When we look at Tinctures & Sublinguals in the US, we notice that package size varies considerably in regards to THC content. Leading the US market with 28.8% of total unit volume is an accumulation of sizes grouped together as ‘Other’. These products contain varying levels of THC as opposed to other package sizes like 100mg or 0-5mg of THC. 100mg and 0-5mg package sizes are the second and third largest segments in the US, making up 18.5% and 12.4% respectively.
Package sizes of cannabis Capsules in the US & Canada
Now let’s compare package sizes of Capsules in the US and Canada in 2021. In Canada, the 0mg-5mg package size is leading in popularity with 35.4% unit volume share. The second most popular size of Capsules contain 75mg of THC and account for just under 28% of all Capsule units sold in 2021. The next most popular package size is the 150mg package, making up 20.6% of unit volume. These top three package sizes made up just under 84% of all Capsule unit volume in Canada in 2021.
In the US, package sizes containing higher levels of THC have proven to be popular with consumers. For example, packages containing 1000mg of THC contribute 32.7% of unit volume. 100mg (20.2%) and 250mg (15.3%) are the next largest package size segments in the US.
The top cannabis Capsule brands in Canada
In these final few graphs, let’s explore some of the top brands in the CTSO categories. Here we start with the top five Capsule brands in Canada throughout 2021 based on total sales. From January to December 2021, consumers spent a collective $14 million on Redecan brand Capsules. The average EQ price per milligram of THC for Redecan Capsules was $0.20 CAD.
Out of these five brands, Mood Ring products had the lowest average EQ price at $0.11 CAD. Consumers spent $2.7 million on Mood Ring Capsules in 2021.
The highest EQ within these top brands is Dosecann, averaging at $0.39 CAD per milligram of THC.
The top Capsule brands in the US
In the US, cannabis consumers spent $24.8 million on Level Capsule products. Breez Mints consumers spent $18.2 million on their Capsule products while AbsoulteXtracts was not far behind, with $16.9 million in annual Capsule sales.
When looking at average EQ prices, it’s clear that 1906 products are noticeably higher. If you’re familiar with 1906 products, it might not be surprising considering they have a focus on low dose, effects-driven formulations.
Top cannabis Oil brands in Canada
Now, let’s look at the top Oil brands in Canada. Redecan is back, with $26.7 million CAD in annual Oil sales in 2021. The second highest grossing brand within this category was MediPharm Labs with just under $8 million CAD in 2021. Their average EQ price was nearly double that of Redecan products at $1.97 CAD per milligram of THC compared to Redecan’s $1.10 CAD.
Top Tincture & Sublingual brands in the US
Finally, let’s look at the top five brands of Tinctures & Sublinguals in the US. Papa & Barkley products sold $16.4 million in 2021. Care by Design was the second highest grossing with $13.3 million in sales, with Mary’s Medicinals following closely with $12.6 million.
On the other side of the spectrum, we see what appears to be an outlier in the group for EQ price with VET CBD. At an average EQ price of $3.93 per milligram of THC, this high price is for good reason. This is an animal wellness brand not meant for human consumption and has little to no amounts of THC. Since this is a specialty product, these items sell at a premium compared to others in the same category, which is why the EQ price is relatively high.
Given the potential for maturation and innovation within established and emerging cannabis markets, there is plenty of opportunity for these categories to continue to grow and develop. Whether that includes new products or advanced formulations, or brands that speak to the ever-changing cannabis consumer, we’re excited to see what is to come for these cannabis categories. If you need help assessing the opportunities in these or other cannabis categories, Headset tools equip you with everything you need. Keep track of category performance with sales dashboards, understand the consumer landscape with demographic insights, and target the right customers with marketing tools. Sign up for a demo to learn how you can keep an eye on opportunities in the cannabis industry.
The Capsule category is showing growth. Within the total share of these combined categories in the US and Canada, we see that Capsules share within the group has grown 10% between January 2020 and December 2021.
Capsules and Oils are doing quite well in the Canadian provinces with Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta leading in combined market share for 2021.
In the US, the data shows that producers and consumers are more heavily focused on the Indica and Sativa Capsule blends compared to the CBG/CBN formulations in Canada.
Across the board, we can see all three categories saw a steady decline in average item price as the cannabis markets in the US and Canada have further matured.
Want to drill in to more cannabis categories? Explore our other category reports here: