Demographics Report 2023
Cannabis use has been on the rise in recent years, and understanding the demographics of cannabis consumers is crucial for businesses operating in this industry. This report provides insights into the gender, age, and geography breakdown of cannabis sales in the United States and Canada. The report highlights key takeaways and analyzes trends in the data, providing a comprehensive overview of cannabis demographics in these regions.
Recent demographic shifts among cannabis consumers largely stem from the growth and maturation of Generation Z, who represent the fastest-growing consumer group in both the US and Canada. Still, Millennials remain the number one cannabis consumer, capturing nearly half of every dollar spent on cannabis across North America. Collectively, Millennial and Generation Z consumers account for 72.1% of all tracked sales in Canada and 63% in the US. Males also remain the majority consumer type, accounting for roughly two-thirds of all cannabis sales; females make up the remaining one-third, but Canada boasts a higher representation and growth rate of female consumers relative to those in the US. Category preferences appear consistent with previous years, as older consumers prefer more “mature” product categories, such as Flower and Edibles, while younger consumers prefer newer form factors, like Vapor Pens and Concentrates. In fact, Generation Z now allocates more of their cannabis wallet to Vapor Pens than to Flower products, making them the first generation in history to spend more on a product category other than Flower.
The data used in this report was directly sourced from Headset Insights and is aggregated across the cannabis markets of NV, MA, CO, CA, WA, OR, MI, and AZ in the United States, as well as AB and ON in Canada. The data was collected using Headset's proprietary market intelligence software, which tracks point-of-sale transactions and provides insights into consumer behavior and preferences. The sample size for this report is substantial, consisting of millions of individual transactions from thousands of unique customers. The analysis in this report is based on rigorous statistical methods and is representative of the overall cannabis market in these regions.
In the US and Canada, males account for roughly two-thirds of all cannabis sales while females capture the remainder. In the US there are two male (66.2%) consumers for every female (33.8%). However, in Canada, there is a notably higher representation of females (37.5%) among cannabis consumers than in the US (33.8%).
Since January 2021, females have seen a slight increase in their percentage of total sales, though this trend has been relatively inconsistent over the last 26 months. The overall increase has been greater in Canada than in the US, with growth rates between January 2021 and December 2022 equal to 1.2% and 0.27% respectively.
While female participation has increased overall, the results have not been consistent across individual markets. When comparing the first two months of 2023 with the same period in 2022, NV and OR appear as inverse outliers. In the last year, the female percentage of total sales in Nevada has increased by 4% from 33.3% to 34.6%, while Oregon shrunk by 3.1%.
Though Oregon’s female representation has shrunk by 3.1% from 37.5% to 36.4%, it still has one of the highest participations of females in any tracked US market, second to WA and falling slightly behind two tracked Canadian provinces. Conversely, Colorado and California have among the lowest percentages of female representation at 32.6% and 32.0% respectively.
Given the percentage breakdown in total market sales between males (66.2%) and females (33.8%), any difference from these values within a given category indicates a shift away from the market average. We can see that there are a couple of categories that over-index towards male consumers, such as Concentrates and Flower, while others skew heavily towards female consumers. For example, half of every dollar spent on Topicals in the first two months of 2023 came from female consumers.
Millennials capture nearly half of every dollar spent on Cannabis in the US and Canada. Canada in particular has a higher concentration of total spending within younger demographics, as Millennial and Gen Z consumers account for 72.1% of all tracked sales. The same cohort in the US contributes only 63% of total sales. This is heavily influenced by the legal age of consumption which is 18 or 19 in Canada but 21 in the US.
When we look at age group trends by individual market, CO and MA stand out as having the highest percentage of sales in the 21 - 42 age range relative to other tracked US markets. Despite “older” consumers encompassing a larger age range than “younger” ones (34 vs. 21 total years), younger consumers clearly dominate sales in each market, a trend that seems to be driven by the collective purchasing power of Millennials.
Gen Z is the fastest-growing group of consumers, which is quickly eating away at the dominant market share of Millennials. In the US, Gen Z’s percentage share of total sales has grown by 11.3% year-over-year from 15.1% to 16.8% percent of sales. In Canada, Gen Z’s share of total sales climbed from 20.6% to 21.8%, a 6% increase compared to February 2022.
There are some clear category preferences when it comes to age groups. Older demographics are patrons of a greater variety of products than Millennials or Gen Z. Baby Boomers and Gen X generally have more interest in “wellness” related products such as Capsules, Topicals, Tinctures, and Sublingual. For Baby Boomers, wallet share to these “wellness” products is over five and a half times more than Gen Z, capturing 5.1% and 0.9% in total sales respectively.
Younger consumers also show a strong preference for inhalable products such as Concentrates, Flower, Vapor Pens, and Pre-Rolls. Gen Z’s wallet share is 25% higher for these categories than for Baby Boomers. Generally, the older demographics spend more on classic categories compared to the youngest consumers. Old school categories such as Flower (+21.6%) and Edibles (+187.3%) skew older, while the youngest consumers prefer newer forms of cannabis like Concentrates (+169.4%) and Vapor Pens (+140%) compared to the oldest shoppers. In fact, Vapor Pens are so popular among Gen Z consumers (33.6%) that Flower no longer represents the bulk of their wallet share (33.3%). This makes Gen Z consumers the first demographic to dethrone Flower as their top product category.
Canada shares a lot of age-related trends with the US. Mature product categories such as Flower and Edibles skew older, while newer categories such as Vapor Pens skew younger. Pre-Rolls, which are a popular category in Canada, are preferred by Millennials and Gen X, capturing between 27% - 29% of wallet share. Again, the most dramatic difference in wallet share between young and old Canadians is the adoption of the Vapor Pen category which is 191.5% higher for Gen Z consumers than Baby Boomers.
Edibles, while preferred by older consumers, don’t see as dramatic of an age correlation as other categories. The Edible category generally is less popular in Canada due to regulations that limit the amount of THC per package which do not exist in the US. For Edibles specifically, the oldest demographic spends 46.3% more than the youngest demographic. Divergent from what we see in US markets, Concentrates skew older in Canada but skew younger in the US. This is in part due to certain brands in Canada using a loophole to categorize their edible products as Concentrates — thus, older consumers spending a larger wallet share on Concentrates are likely just spending their money on Edibles disguised as Concentrates.
This graph shows the average item price and the average basket size for each demographic group through the first two months of 2023, which indicates on average how expensive the products they purchase generally are, and how much they tend to spend in a single visit to a cannabis store. Firstly, we can see that across age groups, average item price stays fairly constant. However, across generations, male consumers tend to purchase more expensive products than female consumers. When we shift our view to basket size, we can see a very significant trend of larger average transaction sizes as a consumer’s age increases. For example, female Baby Boomers spent an average of $64.84 per transaction in January and February 2023, 22.2% larger than female Gen Z consumers. Because the average item prices of these two demographic groups were nearly identical, we must conclude that female Baby Boomers were simply buying more products per trip than Gen Z females.
This report provides insights into the gender, age, and market breakdown of cannabis sales in the United States and Canada. Males account for roughly two-thirds of all cannabis sales while females capture the remainder in both countries. However, in Canada, there is a notably higher representation of females among cannabis consumers than in the US. Gen Z is the fastest-growing age group in both countries, with Vapor Pens having the highest share of total sales among Gen Z in the US. Mature product categories such as Flower and Edibles skew older, while newer categories such as Vapor Pens and Concentrates skew younger. Overall, this report offers valuable insights into the demographics of cannabis consumers, which can inform businesses operating in this industry.
- In the US and Canada, males account for roughly two-thirds of all cannabis sales while females capture the remainder.
- In Canada, there is a higher representation of females (37.5%) among cannabis consumers than in the US (33.8%).
- Canada’s female representation in total sales is growing faster (1.2%) year-over-year than in the US (0.26%).
- NV has the biggest increase in female representation in total sales with a 4% increase year-over-year. Oregon has the biggest decrease in representation at -3.1%. Despite this decrease, OR has the second-highest female representation of any tracked US market at 36.4%.
- females show a greater preference for wellness product categories, while males show a greater preference for inhalable categories such as Flower and Concentrates.
- Millennial and Gen Z consumers account for 72.1% of all tracked sales in Canada and 63% in the US. This is influenced by the difference in the legal age of consumption within each country.
- Gen Z is the fastest-growing age group in both the US and Canada. Their percent share of total sales has grown 11.3% and 6% respectively year-over-year.
- Colorado has the highest percentage of total sales concentrated within the Gen Z and Millennial age groups. Their sales percentage is 9.8% more than Nevada which skews the oldest of any tracked market.
- Vapor Pens have the highest share of total sales among Gen Z in the US with 33.6% of total sales in January and February, the first demographic to dethrone Flower as the top consumer category.
- Mature product categories such as Flower and Edibles skew older, while newer categories such as Vapor Pens and Concentrates skew younger.
- Male consumers tend to purchase more expensive products than female consumers. As age increases, so does the size of an average transaction.