Does the price of cannabis matter? Absolutely!
The price of cannabis is the top-ranked product attribute among cannabis users, with 67% of consumers in 2021 listing “price” as an important factor in their purchasing decision. This metric remained steady from 2020 to 2021, indicating the impact of pricing is here to stay.
Brightfield Group’s US Cannabis Consumer Insights survey has tracked self-reported cannabis consumer spending since 2019. This data gives us a glimpse into how self-perceived cannabis spending has changed quarter-over-quarter, year-over-year.
Consumer-reported spend metrics account for any legacy market purchases a consumer may make that would not be accounted for in point-of-sale data. Because spending is integrated into our larger consumer insights, we can also see how very specific demographics perceive their spending.
We can see cannabis spending perception from Gen Z women who smoke flower, baby boomers who eat edibles daily for arthritis, and even the elusive group of consumers that spend nothing on cannabis despite using it regularly.
Overall Pricing Trends
In our exploration of monthly cannabis spending, we’ll look at consumers who use cannabis at least a few times per week in 2021. A plurality of these consumers spent more than $250 per month. The same amount of consumers spent $1-$50 a month as consumers who spent $151-$250, while a quarter of consumers spent $51-$150 monthly.
High Cannabis Spenders
Cannabis consumers that spend over $150 per month are more likely to use multiple product types than the average consumer. They over-index for all product types especially vapes and concentrates. Though flower is still the most popular product type used, these consumers are able to enjoy a wider roster of cannabis formats than others. Willingness to spend more means additional dollars available to try something new or enjoy many different product types throughout the month.
Spending over $150 per month also allows these consumers to use cannabis more often. A majority of them - over 60% - report using cannabis multiple times per day while under-indexing for all other usage rates.
Low Cannabis Spenders
Cannabis consumers spending less than $50 don't try as many product types or use cannabis as often as the higher spending group. The plurality of low spenders report using cannabis daily or 5 days per week.
Low spenders under-index on most product types with a few exceptions - most notably, cannabis drinks and disposable vapes. These two formats can offer great bang for one’s buck and require very little effort to use. A 300mg disposable pen could last an entire month if a consumer is only taking a puff or two a day.
The “no spenders” group are cannabis consumers who report spending $0 per month on cannabis products. Though the plurality of these consumers uses cannabis 2-4 days per week or less, 25% of them still report using it multiple times per day!
Where does one get cannabis for free? There are two possible options - someone is either buying cannabis for them, or they grow their own. Most US states with legal adult-use cannabis have home-grow provisions in their laws. Depending on the growing conditions, three or four mature female cannabis plants can produce enough bud to last a flower consumer an entire year.
But flower isn’t the only product type these “no spenders” enjoy. Their use of THC gummies/candy and tinctures is in line with the average cannabis consumer more than their usage of flower or pre-rolls. Looking at the demographics of this group, the reason why becomes clear.
Those spending $0 on cannabis are much more likely than the average consumer to be over the age of 66 and have adult children. They’re also much more likely to be using cannabis for pain-related issues like arthritis and inflammation. Over-indexes considered, part of this group of “no spenders” are baby boomers using cannabis for ailments who receive cannabis from their partner or adult child but do not venture into a dispensary themselves.
That said, some of these “no spenders” may eventually visit a dispensary. Further digging into the insights in Brightfield Group’s US Consumer Insights portal allows brands to keep these elusive consumers on their radar. After all, 45% of them said they’d be very likely to purchase THC while simultaneously reporting they spend $0 on cannabis per month. A change in purchasing behavior may be imminent for many of them.
Self-reported consumer data gives us a glimpse of the mind of a modern-day cannabis consumer - including how much they’re willing to spend. It’s up to brands to use this data wisely to find what niche they can fill for the variety of cannabis-consuming Americans who’ll enjoy these products in 2022 and the years to come.
Last Updated: 1/6/2022