Posted by Dave Kaplan
6 months ago / November 23, 2021
3 Cannabis Vape Industry Predictions For 2022
Like Sublime, Greentank doesn’t practice Santeria or have a crystal ball. But we do have access to a ton of POS data, and that allows us to foresee most vape trends—if not all.
We primarily use this data to help drive our own product innovation and to inform our partners on the patterns unfolding in their markets. It also serves as the basis for our beloved Quarterly Vape Report, which has become mandatory reading for any brands seeking sustained success in our corner of the industry.
Unfortunately, understanding what’s currently working, or has succeeded in the past, only gets you into the game. To gain a true competitive advantage, you need to anticipate what will be trending next and get in on that action from the onset. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. And while we’re sure there have been a few instances of late birds snagging some worms themselves, just the same, there’s simply no aphorism to support it. So, we’ve got to assume it doesn’t happen very often.
That’s why we’re turning our sights today to 2022 vape predictions and a trio of trends we believe are poised to gain steam and disrupt the current paradigms. Grab a pen and some paper. This one is sure to be worth your time.
Vape Prediction 1: Live Resin Products Will Skyrocket In Popularity
Make no mistake about it. Distillates are still king in the North American cannabis vape industry. Over the last 90 days, these extracts have accounted for roughly 60% of all units sold in the US and approximately 87% of all vape sales in Canada. Yet, as impressive as these figures may be, they are down somewhat from last year, and in their wake is a surging live resin product category that’s primed for growth.
Flash-frozen directly after harvest and extracted shortly thereafter, live resin products offer users a premium vapor experience that’s brimming with authentic, full-bodied terpene profiles. When these products first debuted in the market in certain US markets in late 2018, not much was generally known about them other than that they were more expensive than your average distillate—a kind of niche product for connoisseurs. Now, the cat is out of the bag so we’re starting our 2022 vape predictions by focusing on it.
Live resin products have statistically become the second-most sought after extract type in the US, with vastly improved revenue, unit sales, and market share in 2021 relative to 2020, but currently appear to be the main talking track among both vape consumers and brands operating in the space. There’s even a surprisingly high demand for them in Canada, where live resin products remain few and far between on retailer shelves due to the relative nascency of the market. But that won’t be the case forever. New live resin SKUs are being introduced every week into every Canadian and US market—we can tell you first-hand because we’ve been supplying the cartridges—and the more widespread availability of these products from coast to coast will only help to boost the segment’s sales in the coming year.
Vape Prediction 2: 1g Cartridges Will Dominate Vape Sales
If you read any of our quarterly vape reports over the last year, then you already know that 1g cartridges (or 1ml in Canada) were the hottest-trending products in 2021. Over 50 million of these units have been sold this year already among the 11 North American markets we track, generating upward of $1.7B in revenue.
These record-breaking figures are certainly a nice boon to the industry, but hardly a surprise to anyone who’s been tracking the steady progress of the package size over the last few years. One-gram units debuted in the US in 2017 with a mere 1.5M unit sales. That number increased 5x to 7.5M unit sales in 2018, before vaulting to just over 18M the following year. In 2020, the sale of 1g cartridges nearly doubled once again to 34M units, overtaking the 0.5g package size for the first time, and this past year the segment share of 1g cartridges grew to 67% of all cartridges sold nationally.
The growth of 1g cartridges in Canada has been even more rapid, taking place almost entirely over the course of the last 12 months. As recently as October 2020, 1g cartridges accounted for a miniscule 5% of all vape sales in the Great White North. Fast forward one year, and these units now constitute an incredible 35.6% of the market.
The data clearly shows that consumers are actively seeking larger package sizes. It’s anyone’s guess as to why, although we suspect it’s likely a combination of factors including price, availability, and an overall desire to make less frequent visits to retailers. What is certain, however, is that this trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down, or reversing, any time soon, which is why we feel so confident including it among our 2022 vape predictions. At just over one-third of the market in Canada, there’s still substantial room for the package size’s segment share to grow. Also, keep an eye on Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Nevada, where 1g cartridges currently account for 40% or less of all unit sales. Those segment shares will almost surely rise in 2022.
Vape Prediction 3: 1g Disposables Will Disrupt The All-In-One Market
Following a tough downturn in 2020, the disposable (all-in-one) segment made a mini resurgence in 2021 in certain US markets. Not in Canada—disposables north of the border accounted for just 6.5% of its total vape sales this past year, down from 18.7% in 2020.
In California, however, the segment share of disposables rose 25% from one year earlier to 10.6% of all vape sales in the state, the result of 3.9M units sold. Over in Colorado, the segment share of disposables rose 14% from 2020. In Nevada, disposable sale levels returned to pre-pandemic levels, now accounting for approximately 1 in every 4 vape products sold. Even in Washington, one of the most entrenched cannabis vape markets in the world, the popularity of disposable units rose by 133% from 2020—as big a surprise as we’ve come across this year.
There are likely two factors contributing to this uptick in disposable sales:
- The return of tourism in these markets is undoubtedly playing a role. Tourism has historically driven disposable sales in the US and is the principal reason why tourist-haven markets, such as California, Nevada, and Colorado, have proportionally higher disposable sales than non-tourism markets.
- The availability of 1g disposables is more widespread than ever before, following the introduction of rechargeable disposable devices to the market in 2021. These products have enabled users to not only buy larger package sizes of the extracts they love in a simplified format that’s ready to go right out of the box, but also ensure that they never waste a single draw of their favorite products.
Industry data certainly seems to support this theory. One-gram disposable units increased from 5.2% segment share in 2020 to 8.3% this past year, and over the last few months of the year climbed as high as 11% of all national disposable sales. Now that 1g disposables are beginning to appear on consumers’ radars, they’re even more likely to spike in popularity. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if 1g disposable sales in 2022 mimicked the success of their cartridge counterparts and accounted for upward of one-quarter to one-third of all disposable sales in the US by year’s end.
Predictions, Not Guarantees
Of course, no one can know with absolute certainty how these markets will play out. At the end of the day, these 2022 vape predictions are informed estimates; not guarantees. The data simply gives us the best possible snapshot of where the market currently sits and where it’s most likely headed going forward. Nor are these the only insights we have concerning the future of cannabis vape sales in North America. Greentank combs through point-of-sale data regularly to identify these trends and recommend proactive courses of action. We call this service Market Matching and offer it for free to all of our customers. Think of it as our 2022 vape predictions, all year round and fully at your disposal.
Start 2022 the right way, with the industry’s premier vape hardware and an arsenal of data at your disposal. Contact us to speak with a Greentank representative today.