Price and potency drive flower sales, but educated consumers show interest in terpenes and minor cannabinoids

Marijuana flower sales, Price and potency drive flower sales, but educated consumers show interest in terpenes and minor cannabinoids

Flower is the undisputed champion of marijuana products, making up more than half of market share—and often more when including pre-rolls.

Although flower’s dominance has slipped slightly over the years as more formats have become available, business owners anticipate that flower will continue to hold a dominant position in the future.

Pump up the potency

Marijuana retailers say that potency is still the main trait that consumers seek in the flower they buy.

“Consistent with most of the market, it’s THC percentage and potency that are going to drive sales. If people see THC percentage in excess of 30%, (consumers are) always going to be immediately attracted to those options,” said Dominic Cundari, general manager at ArborSide, a medical and recreational cannabis store in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Flower accounts for 50%-60% of the store’s revenue on any given day, depending on what products are being promoted or discounted, Cundari said.

At Trinidad, Colorado-based retailer Highland Health, flower accounts for 60%-70% of sales. The store’s general manager, Ann DeMarco, agreed that THC levels and potency are most important to consumers—especially younger ones—but noted that as regular customers become more educated about terpenes and secondary cannabinoids, those are increasingly important as well.

“We have an awful lot of consumers who ask for specific terpene profiles to help them achieve certain outcomes, such as something to help them sleep, something that will help with pain, something that will help relieve migraines,” DeMarco said.

Observers noted that consumers of all ages and genders will buy flower, but the most prolific purchasers are younger males.

All about the money

Price is another important factor. “The majority of people that we see are budget-conscious consumers,” Cundari said. “Not that we don’t want the higher-end consumer, we’re always going to have higher-end products. But, predominantly, you find people are looking for something that’s just going to get them through their day or through their week without putting a huge hole in their pocketbook.”

Flower strains that are most popular at ArborSide combine “fruity or tropical elements” and “cakey, vanilla-type terpene profiles with that sharp gasoline back end, like a Sour Diesel or a GMO Cookies,” he added.

Pre-roll sales on the rise

Pre-rolled joints are becoming an increasingly important flower factor.

At stores owned by New York-based multistate operator Ayr Wellness, flower accounts for nearly half of all sales. And while flower’s market share has slipped by a percentage point or two recently, that loss has been offset by gains in pre-roll sales, said Jeff Finnerty, Ayr’s head of marketing.

Flower and pre-rolls together account for 53%-57% of Ayr’s sales, depending on the market, he said, with pre-rolls comprising 8.5%-10.5% of the total.

Why have pre-rolls increased in popularity, especially during the coronavirus pandemic? Finnerty believes that portability and convenience are major reasons.

Still, marijuana retailers believe flower will remain king. “Whole flower continues to be the most familiar format—not only to experienced users but folks that are unfamiliar with cannabis,” Finnerty said.

To see the full cover package including graphs and charts, visit “What Consumers Want” in the digital version of MJBizMagazine.