Cannabis industry reports

On the Come Up: Concentrates Category Shows Consistent Growth

January 17, 2020

Introduction

This report is the first in a series examining the growth and development of our product categories, and it centers on what we think is one of the most interesting ones in the cannabis industry: Concentrates. Concentrates are still a small share of the market compared to Flower, but they’re one that has grown consistently since the inception of legal weed, and one we think will continue to do so. Indeed, this year, they’ve overtaken Pre-Roll as the second most popular category.

Before legalization, cannabis consumers were very limited in their methods of consumption, essentially only having access to smokable cannabis or homemade edibles. While extraction into concentrates became increasingly popular in the medical cannabis marketplace, it still wasn’t accessible to the broader base of recreational consumers. With the advent of licensed processing facilities where extracts could be made safely and consistently, as well as legal stores to educate consumers about these products, the category has grown significantly.

Concentrates carry many advantages over traditional flower, so their continued growth makes sense. For one, many products in the category are smokeless, and the use of vapor products is trending in general. As younger, more health-conscious consumers enter the marketplace, many are still interested in nicotine or cannabis, but opting to consume it combustion-free. In cannabis, vaporized products carry an added benefit, as they offer the same rapid high as smoking. Also, when done as a “dab”—a large pull of very concentrated cannabis oil, users achieve an intense, focused high. Dabbing has grown so popular as to be something of a subculture in its own right.

One of the most interesting takeaways from this report is the sharp increase in sales of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) and Whole Plant Extract (WPE) after July 2016. This is the first data-based proof of a migration of medical patients to the recreational market after SB 5052, The Cannabis Patient Protection Act, combined the two. RSO/WPE are popular products with medical patients, who cherish it for its ability to preserve the original terpene profile of whichever strain is being extracted, something many believe is key to cannabis’ medicinal properties.

Wax, however, continues to dominate the category, although product diversity has grown greatly in the last year. While some segments, like wax, are more popular than others, no single product is the category leader. Concentrates are an interesting and emerging market, and one with lots of growing still left to do.

Methodology

Data for this report comes from real-time sales reporting by participating Washington State cannabis retailers via their point-of-sale systems, which are linked up with Headset’s business analytics software. This report is based on data collected in the state of Washington from August 2017 and August 2016. That data is cross-referenced with our catalog of over 50,000 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.

Concentrates

Concentrates are currently the 2nd largest category next to flower, making up 11.7% of July 2017 sales. This is up from only 10.3% of sales in July 2016, when concentrates were the 3rd largest category behind Pre-Roll.

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