Cannabis industry reports

Food for Thought: Edibles Enjoy Solid Sales, Steady Growth

January 17, 2020

Executive summary

This report examines the Edibles category in depth. It looks at how the category has developed since the first legal sales, seasonal trends, popular segments within the category, price data, and more. It also examines and compares the market share vs total sales of Edibles. It will be interesting to cannabis retailers, anyone who manufactures products that fall into this category, and anyone curious about consumer spending patterns in cannabis.


The Edibles category is an interesting one, because Edibles were very popular before legalization — Alice B. Toklas’ recipe for pot brownies was published in 1954, and they’ve enjoyed a place in popular culture ever since — which is not true of some of the other non-inhalable categories. Thus, Edibles have enjoyed a receptive customer base since the beginning of legalization, and trends suggest that their popularity will continue to grow as legalization sweeps the nation.

For one, as more non-traditional cannabis consumers warm to the idea of legal weed, the demand for non-inhalable products will surely rise. Some of this will be absorbed by the Vapor Pens market, as vaping technology is widely regarded as safer than smoking, but plenty of people will turn to things like Edibles, Beverages, and other ingested forms of cannabis to avoid inhalation altogether. While the high is significantly different — Edibles come on slowly and deliver a high that usually lasts much  longer — many die hard users enjoy both, and some people even prefer the slower onset.

The recreational cannabis market is relatively young, and includes some unique events, like more recent legalization campaigns in California and Nevada, but the fact that Edibles have maintained a steady market share among the chaos speaks volumes. Also, if you’ve browsed our other reports, you know that there are lots of small, new categories gaining steam, which means that Edibles are holding their own against these competitors. Overall, more cannabis of all types is being sold than ever, and the market is growing increasingly diverse, with more products and more methods of consumption than ever before.

This report demonstrates that Edibles will likely be an enduring one. In it, we look at market share by state as well as seasonal trends. You might not be surprised to learn that the winter holiday season, when Edibles make very, very popular gifts, is great for sales. We’ve also examined some state-specific regulatory issues, like the recent kerfuffle over gummy candies in Washington, giving you insight into the impact that local regulators can have on the tightly controlled cannabis industry.

Overall, there’s a lot to be gleaned from our Edibles data. As ever, state trends are the big story, and probably will be until federal legalization, but the overall bent for the category is towards growth. Or, at the very least, a sustained and significant share of an increasingly competitive marketplace.


Data for this report comes from real-time sales reporting by participating cannabis retailers via their point-of-sale systems, which are linked up with Headset’s data analytics platform. The data included are for 2019 year-to-date, and span Colorado, Washington, Nevada, and California, except where noted. Those data are cross-referenced with our catalog of hundreds of thousands of products to provide detailed information on market trends.

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.

The Overall Edibles Market

Looking at the aggregated Edibles sales data might make you think that they skyrocketed in popularity between July of 2017 and January of 2018. While it’s not untrue that the demand for Edibles has grown, a lot of that has to do with Nevada and California’s legal markets coming online. We can see a small spike in July 2017 for Nevada, and a much more significant one in January 2018, for California. This is reflected in the fact that overall market share doesn’t leap up at the same times, even if it has grown slightly since the first states legalized. California coming online brought the biggest bump in market share, suggesting that Edibles are extra popular in that state, although total market share has tapered off slightly since then.

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