Adult-use marijuana basket composition highlights consumer buying trends in 2020

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Many adult-use marijuana shoppers would rather stick with one type of product, such as flower or vape pens, when at the store than bring home a variety of cannabis goods, according to an analysis of customer basket compositions from 2020.

Understanding the buying patterns of marijuana consumers can help retailers and manufacturers improve merchandising and marketing efforts.

Retail basket data from California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington state provided by Seattle-based cannabis analytics firm Headset showed that 67% of baskets with a flower purchase didn’t contain any other marijuana product types.

Pre-roll, concentrate and vape pen shoppers were also particularly loyal to a singular category: 50% or more of the category baskets contained only those items.

In contrast, baskets containing beverages more often than not contained other products, with just 22.5% of baskets containing only beverages.

While the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the industry in 2020, analysis of the same type of data in January 2021 shows the overall patterns haven’t changed significantly with the start of the new year, highlighting some common consumer trends that drive the adult-use market.

When consumers did buy other products, they were most likely to buy (primary category: secondary categories):

  • Beverages: Edibles, flower
  • Capsules: Edibles, flower
  • Concentrates: Flower, pre-rolls
  • Edibles: Flower, pre-rolls
  • Flower: Pre-rolls, vape pens
  • Pre-rolls: Flower, vape pens
  • Tinctures and sublinguals: Edibles, flower
  • Topicals: Edibles, flower
  • Vape pens: Flower, pre-rolls

Knowing that consumers purchasing topicals and tinctures are most likely to purchase edibles presents retailers with the opportunity to move those products closer together or to offer specials that combine the categories.

Retailers can also use educational marketing and events to help inform shoppers – such as those buying only flower or pre-rolls – about the advantages of other products.

Even manufacturers can benefit from a close look at basket composition and buying trends, because expanding a brand into a new category is much easier when those buyers are already shopping for those products.

Andrew Long can be reached at

Adult-use marijuana basket composition

Adult-use marijuana consumer buying patterns using 2020 retail data from California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington provided by Headset. Categories do not add up to 100%.
BeveragesCapsulesConcentratesEdiblesFlowerPre-rollsTincturesTopicalsVape pens
Vape pens16.2%17.3%