Industry Reports

Whos Buying All That Pot? A Look at the Demographics of Cannabis Consumers 2017

October 6, 2017

Introduction

It’s no secret that people are buying legal cannabis at unprecedented rates these days. Sales numbers grow year after year, and reports have predicted that the cannabis market will top $20 billion in just a few years. At Headset, we try to dive deep into those numbers, using our uniquely structured dataset to to see not only how much is being sold, but what kinds of products are being sold and who is buying them.

For this report, we’ve used demographic data, drawn from customers who have voluntarily signed up for rewards programs with our Washington State retail partners, to look at everything from brand preference to price sensitivity across the generational spectrum. Unsurprisingly, cannabis is most popular with Millennials, who grew up in a world with much more liberal views on the plant. However, Gen Xers buy nearly as much cannabis as Millenials, and Baby Boomers are a significant part of the consumer base as well. They’re in here too. Data for Generation Z—those born in the mid-90s to mid-2000s—is not, as only a tiny fraction of them are of legal age.

Anyone seeking insights into what Gen Xers or Millennials are looking for when they hit the pot shop will find this report very useful. However, it also offers interesting observations on each generation’s preferences and values, and how those are reflected in their purchasing habits. Crafting specials and promotions based on those sensibilities will be a key part of marketing success as the industry broadens and welcomes a new, more age-diverse customer base.

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 September 2017. That data is cross-referenced with our catalog of over 150,000 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.

Demographics

Millennials have dominated the market since we began looking at the data, holding 49% of the total market share in 2016, with a slight increase to 51% in 2017.

Flower was still the largest overall category regardless of generation. Interestingly enough, however, the second place category was different for each generation. For Millennials, it was Concentrates, which make up 13% of sales to their generation. For Gen X, it’s a tie between Concentrates and Vapor Pens. Boomers like Vapor Pens and Pre Rolls, while the Silent Generation goes for just Vapor Pens. In terms of consumption of flower by volume, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers all split their spend in a remarkably similar way.

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Team Headset

With extensive experience within the cannabis industry, Headset is comprised of a team of industry experts, data scientists and market analysts combining our abilities in technology, design and data to help push the cannabis industry forward.