With more women buying cannabis, product demand could change

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More women are buying cannabis, which could lead to shifts in product demand.

Women still make up a minority of adult-use marijuana purchasers – 33.6% in February – but that’s increased almost a full percentage point from 2020.

While that trend might not be a dramatic shift in the gender makeup of retail marijuana sales, it could have a lasting effect because men and women shop differently for cannabis products.

For example, female buyers are more likely to purchase products other than flower when compared to their male counterparts.

Both men and women spend the most on flower, but women spend less on it, according to analysis of wallet share (the percentage of a customer’s spend on specific categories) from February 2021.

The demographic information, including age and gender, was self-reported by participants in customer-loyalty programs and collected by Seattle-based cannabis analytics firm Headset.

The biggest gap was in California, where women spend $36.30 of every $100 on flower compared with $43.90 spent by men, an almost $8 difference.

Other states saw a similar breakdown in flower spending:
Men Women Difference
Colorado $46.90 $42.40 $4.50
Nevada $59.00 $53.60 $5.40
Washington $47.70 $42.20 $5.50


Women most likely spend the difference on non-flower products such as edibles, where they outspent men in each state analyzed:

Men Women Difference
California $10.04 $15.70 $5.66
Colorado $12.50 $16.10 $3.60
Nevada $6.20 $9.20 $3.00
Washington $6.70 $9.10 $2.40

Women also outpaced men in spending on beverages, capsules, tinctures, topicals and, in some states, vape pens.

Like the flower category, men still outspend women on pre-rolls and concentrates.

It’s hard to assign any specific reason for the increase of women shopping for marijuana.

With males making up 60% of adult-use buyers, marijuana retailers and manufacturers often focus their marketing and merchandising efforts toward men without realizing how detrimental that is to attracting female shoppers.

The shift could be a signal that companies, especially female-led businesses, are changing the way the industry thinks about product design and marketing by factoring in women shoppers.

Then there is COVID-19. The cannabis industry, like much of the world, has experienced an upheaval in retail trends caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consumers changed when and how they shopped, and that might be reflected in the buying habits of women.

Only time will tell if the growth is a more long-term change in the industry.

Andrew Long can be reached at andrew.long@mjbizdaily.com.