Market Matching: Are Disposables Suddenly On The Rise?

Posted by Dave Kaplan
3 years ago / August 4, 2021

Market Matching: Are Disposables Suddenly On The Rise?

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These days, knowing the vape trends and patterns currently defining your market isn’t enough. Brands need to know where their markets are headed so they can anticipate trends and capitalize on them as they unfold.

Simply put, there’s never been a more pressing need for a service like Greentank’s Market Matching in our corner of the industry. Let’s take a look at how Market Matching can help, using the disposable vape category as an example:

On the surface, the overall proportion of disposable sales in the US hasn’t wavered much since Q1 2018, accounting, on average, for approximately 10% of the market over this time. While the segment’s national sales may appear steady and consistent—its market share never dropping below 9% or rising above 11% —a deeper dive into the data at the individual market state level reveals that disposable sales are anything but.

In California, for instance, disposables are currently experiencing a slight resurgence after dipping to record low market share levels of 9% in 2020. That number rose to 10% in Q1 2021 and then increased again to 11% in Q2, where it remains one month through the current quarter. We admit that a 2% hike doesn’t exactly jump off of the page, but it’s no small chunk of change either given that California does more than $1b in vape sales annually.



Nevada is experiencing a similar resurgence with its disposable category, which cratered to 20% of the market in Q2 2020—its lowest level since Q2 2018—following the emergence of COVID-19 and the subsequent decline in tourism in the state. That number dropped another 2% to start 2021 but has since rebounded impressively, vaulting to 24% of the market in Q2 and rising yet again to 27% in Q3.

In Colorado, disposable sales remained relatively steady throughout 2020 and are now on the rise in 2021, having posted back-to-back record market share levels in Q1 (16%) and Q2 (17%). The current quarter is on pace to be its most promising yet, with disposable sales spiking to 20% of the market through July—a small sample size no doubt, but a glaring pattern nonetheless that simply cannot be ignored.



As the most mature and entrenched region in the US, the Pacific Northwest has established itself as “cartridge country” with market shares of the category type consistently above 90%. That chasm is only growing in Oregon, where cartridges have garnered 98% in each of the last four quarters. But it’s a different story in Washington, where the tide appears to be turning for the disposable category. Disposables there hit rock bottom in Q1 2020, plummeting to 1% of the market, but have risen steadily in popularity since. By the end of 2020, disposables accounted for 3% of the market. In Q1 2021, the category jumped another percentage point and then increased once again the following quarter to 5% of the market for the first time, where it remains in Q3.



We just threw a lot of data at you, so let’s simplify it in terms of future probabilities and advisable courses of action:

  • In Nevada, Washington, and Colorado, disposables appear to be a strong play. Sales of the category are currently at record (or near-record) levels in all three markets and have been trending upward in popularity throughout the course of 2021.
  • In California, disposables are a safe play, accounting for north of $100m annually and currently growing slightly in popularity.
  • In Oregon, disposables are not a safe play. With only 2% market share, they generate less than $4m in revenue annually and with 16 brands already in the space, there is not much room for opportunity.

If you find the above insights useful, think about what other crucial market insights you might be missing out on. There’s a world of vape data out there that goes beyond disposable and cartridge sales. Contact us today to book your Market Matching consultation or to speak with one of our industry and product experts, and we’ll break it all down for you.

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