All About Equity: What Brands, Investors, and Regulators Need to Know About Cannabis Consumers and Social Equity Brands
As we roll into 2022, Eaze has crunched the numbers on 12 months of consumer data to bring you our annual State of Cannabis report. In 2021, we saw massive changes in consumer support for products produced by entrepreneurs negatively impacted—by virtue of geography, family history, and lived experience—by the War on Drugs. As the nation’s largest legal cannabis marketplace (with 8 million legal deliveries to-date), this year’s State of Cannabis Report offers unique insights into social equity product trends, uncovering consumer patterns that can be generalized to markets nationally and globally.
Eaze’s social impact programs reflect our mission to deliver good with the goods. Our work includes the award-winning Momentum business accelerator; Eaze Compassion, our patient program that provides free medicine to low-income medical cannabis consumers; and our Social Equity Partners Program (SEPP).
We always believed Eaze customers would welcome Social Equity brands with open arms. Now we know for sure. Here, for the first time, we are providing a year-over-year comparison of consumer sentiment and purchase behavior toward social equity brands.
TL/DR: Consumers are incredibly enthusiastic about these brands and are putting millions of dollars into them. These results hold important lessons for brands, investors, and regulators.
This year we’ve also done a deeper dive into concentrates—high potency products whose rising visibility and popularity reflects the ongoing normalization of cannabis. Who’s using them, how much, and at what potency? Read on to find out.
This report also includes our annual analysis of purchasing choices by age, geography, gender, as well as other consumer trends we’re seeing in California and Michigan. One big trend we’re noticing: consistency in product choice across ages and geographies. Consumers know what they like and are sticking with beloved products, year over year! We’ll have more standalone data on the Mitten State next year, so stay tuned. Eaze’s 2022 State of Cannabis report aggregates our proprietary data to illustrate the behavior of the more than 380,000 customers who purchased from Eaze between January 1 and December 31, 2021.
Social Equity in 2021
What is Eaze’s Social Equity Partners’ Program (SEPP)?
Social Equity (SE) Total Sales
Consumers are socially conscious, and this desire to support underrepresented communities means they’re making an effort to purchase cannabis from diverse founders. In 2021, Google search interest in “black owned shops near me” spiked 590%.
Eaze saw an incredible 72% year over year (YOY) increase between 2020 and 2021 in the dollar value, and an accompanying 51% increase in the number of products sold, from our SE Menu.
What kinds of SE products are most popular? Here’s what customers ordered more of in 2021:
Top SE Sales Months
Top SE Sales By City
Starting with a caveat: Eaze has expanded its social equity menu geographically over the past two years, meaning that jumps in cities reflects both consumer preference and availability. With this in mind, what can we learn from the cities where Eaze saw the biggest upticks in SE sales in 2021? Some things jump out. The prevalence of smaller, inland communities in California’s San Joaquin Valley in the Top Five (Tracy, Manteca, Lodi, and Stockton) is interesting, as this area is more politically moderate and less economically affluent than the Bay Area and Los Angeles—where the overall majority of SE sales occur.
Another grouping of four communities south of Long Beach (Hawaiian Gardens, Villa Park, Laguna Woods) is more politically liberal than their San Joaquin Valley counterparts, though similar in average median household income. The outliers? San Diego, Monrovia and Rolling Hills estates fall outside the two geographic groupings and are, on average, more affluent.
products have traction across a diversity of communities.
SE Sales By Age
TikTok Generation is wide awake and hearing equity’s social justice message loud and clear, with Gen Z and young Millennials accounting for the biggest share of purchases.
Who is the Modern Cannabis Shopper?
“Wedding cake” and “Glue” saw a meteoric rise in the past year. Both strains are indica-dominant, meaning they produce full-body effects like deep relaxation.
Wedding Cake is a hybrid known for its calming effects on the body and mind, and demand has soared as consumers are looking for mental health and stress relief.
Original Glue (formerly known as Gorilla Glue) is a hybrid strain (60% indica, 40% sativa) that “delivers heavy-handed euphoria and relaxation, leaving you feeling “glued” to the couch.” (Leafly) It’s another strain known to deliver a strong dose of relaxation during a stressful year.
Top 2021 Holidays
Location, Location, Location
Consumer Favorites Across California’s Top Markets
All the Way Up
Trends In Product Sales
Again, more consistency. Consumer preferences were static in 2021 with the top-selling product categories the same, every month, for all 12 months. For the first time, we’re providing a percentage range of sales for the year.
2021’s big edibles winner: Mints cracked the Top 5, oral strips jumped up three places to #9, and tinctures made a showing at #12. The biggest losers? Licorice and hard sweets.
Women had a greater preference for edibles and prerolls, while men gravitated to flower and concentrate. We saw the greatest similarity in preference for vape products.
Deep Dive: Concentrates
Consumer Favorites Across California’s Top Markets
‘Tis the season for high THC: The proportion of users purchasing “very high” potency THC concentrates was highest from October – December, reaching 54.7% at the highest point in November.
The trend held for flower: October – December 2021 was peak season for “very high” potency – but interestingly, there is another spike between January – March.