In 2019, California cannabis consumers continued to learn about and turn to cannabis to address their various needs. To provide a picture of California’s legal cannabis marketplace, we’ve aggregated our proprietary data to illustrate the behavior of over half a million cannabis consumers who purchased via the Eaze platform in 2019. After successfully completing our five million delivery in five years in 2019, we’re excited to share our fifth annual State of Cannabis Report.
- Increased demand and consumption: 2019 saw a 74% increase in first-time deliveries.
- Year of the older consumer: Consumers on the platform aged 50 and above increased by 105%. Boomers specifically purchased 67% more topicals than in the previous year, demonstrating a willingness to try new cannabis form factors.
- Demographic and preference diversity: There was greater diversity among customers: women on the platform grew 81% from 2018; product preferences diversified with drops and topical purchases increasing across all age groups.
- Neighborhood surprises: In San Francisco, Nob Hill residents ordered more cannabis than their neighbors in the Haight, while Silverlake was the most active delivery market in Los Angeles.
Huge uptick in curiosity and consumption.
More Californians are buying and consuming cannabis. In 2019, Eaze saw a 97% increase in sign-ups, with a 74% increase in first deliveries. Not only is there a massive increase in interest and curiosity about cannabis, the vast majority of the “canna-curious” then become customers.
Curiosity and demand especially peaked over three-day weekends, as that extra day of relaxation gave consumers more time to share and educate their friends and loved ones about the plant.
More diversity among consumers, with women and Boomers growing.
In 2019, we saw the cannabis gender divide continue to disappear, as it inches closer to a 50/50 split. Interestingly, the gender divide is nearly 50/50 in the Boomer cannabis consumer age group.
Speaking of Boomers, they’re one of the fastest-growing demographics for cannabis. This year the number of Boomers who signed up to use Eaze increased by 91%, second behind Generation Z (144%). As a percentage of the total Eaze customer base, Boomers were in second place behind Gen Z, increasing 13% from last year. As a result, the average age of the cannabis consumer increased from 31 to 32.
Location, location, location.
Compared to last year, there were changes to concentrations of demand by neighborhood in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
There’s greater diversity in product preferences.
Over the past five years we’ve seen the popularity of vaporizers rise, with this product category beating out flower in 2018. In 2019, we saw an even bigger increase in vaporizer popularity, with vapes responsible for 32% of units sold on average while flower represented just 25%.
Unlicensed vapes impacted customer choices.
Vape sales experienced a significant downturn after the Centers for Disease Control announced the condition known as E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI). Although EVALI cases were linked to the illicit and untested vape market — and specifically the inclusion of Vitamin E acetate in vape oil — the public conversation often failed to distinguish regulated cannabis vapes from unlicensed cannabis and tobacco products. This led to a high volume of inaccurate public information between August 2019 when EVALI was announced, and November 2019, when case numbers began to decline.
Prior to August 2019, vapes were responsible for an average of 33% of total vapes purchased on the Eaze platform; this dropped by 15% to 28% of total sales in October and November. This trend was accompanied by a 24% increase in edible sales, which prior to August accounted for an average of 17% of total Eaze sales; edible purchases increased to 24% in October and 25% in November.
Consumers have more nuanced preferences.
Hybrid flowers continue to be the most popular type, but edible types saw a shift in product preferences, with capsules and licorice increasing in popularity.
We also observed greater nuance when looking at gender and generational product preferences. Men lean slightly more towards flower and concentrates while women lean slightly more towards edibles and prerolls. Vapes continue to be the most popular product category for both men and women.
Across all generations, drops and topicals demonstrated the highest increase in preference year over year.
Normalization continues and acceptance grows.
In 2019, an increasingly diverse number of Californians turned to cannabis, demonstrating how the legal market can enact widespread consumer acceptance and change. As the makeup of the cannabis consumer continues to grow and diversify, brands are responding with more targeted products to meet customer demands.
Industry efforts to promote social justice are also maturing and growing, with more companies coming together to help rectify the negative effects left on society by the War on Drugs. For our part, Eaze and our ecosystem of licensed retailers and brands continues to build on our commitments to increase industry diversity, level the playing field, and protect compassionate care.
Looking ahead to 2020, important challenges remain — including ensuring equal access to safe, legal products statewide and decreasing illicit sales. One thing is for sure: consumer demand isn’t going anywhere but up.