Millennials & Gen Z Dominate Cannabis Industry 1

Millennials & Gen Z are significant players in the cannabis industry, accounting for 72.1% of all tracked sales in Canada and 63% in the United States.

Gen Z is the fastest-growing cannabis consumer group in both countries, according to the latest report from Headset. While Millenials remain #1 – capturing nearly half of every dollar spent on cannabis across North America – Gen Z is creeping up.

Millennials & Gen Z also prefer newer forms of cannabis. While older consumers prefer flowers and edibles, the younger crowd is buying vape pens and concentrates.

In fact, for the first time in history, Gen Z is spending more on vape pens than actual flower.

Millennials & Gen Z Dominate Cannabis Industry

Millennials & Gen Z Dominate Cannabis Industry

Millennials & Gen Z are dominating the cannabis industry as the top consumers. It’s like Ludwig von Mises said,

The real bosses, in the capitalist system of market economy, are the consumers. They, by their buying and by their abstention from buying, decide who should own the capital and run the plants. They determine what should be produced and in what quantity and quality. Their attitudes result either in profit or in loss for the enterpriser. They make poor men rich and rich men poor. They are no easy bosses.

And while the cannabis industry isn’t a great example of a free and fair market economy, it’s not as disconnected from consumers as, say, the pharmaceutical industry.

With that said, how do the Millennial and Gen Z cannabis demographics break down?

While Millennials captured nearly half of every dollar spent on cannabis, Gen Z is the fastest-growing group. They are slowly but surely chipping away at the dominant market of Millennials.

Canada has a higher concentration of younger cannabis consumers. But we can explain this by the legal consumption age, which is 19. In contrast, in the legal states, you must be 21 or older.

Canada also had the highest concentration of young cannabis consumers before legalization. So this trend could be reflective of that. (Despite Canada’s intended goal with legalization being to “keep it out of the hands of children.”)

Gen Z’s percentage share of total sales in the USA grew by 11.3%. In Canada, Gen Z’s share climbed by 6%.

In the US, Maine and Colorado had the highest percentage of sales to people under 40. While in both countries, males account for about two-thirds of all cannabis sales.

Millennials & Gen Z Prefer Vape Pens 

Millennials & Gen Z Prefer Vape Pens 

There are apparent differences regarding cannabis product preferences among older generations, Millennials, and Gen Z.

For example, Baby Boomers and Gen Z are more interested in “wellness” products like capsules, topicals, and tinctures. Particularly for Boomers, whose wallet share for these products is five and a half times larger than that of Gen Z.

Likewise, Millennials and Gen Z prefer inhalable cannabis like concentrates, flower, vape pens, and pre-rolls. Gen Z’s wallet share is 25% higher for these products than for Baby Boomers.

Older demographics tend to be more conservative with their cannabis. They prefer flower and edibles. In contrast, vape pens are so popular among Gen Z that they outsell flower.

Since legalization, flower has remained the top product category in all markets. Except now. Gen Z prefers the convenience of vape pens to the alternative of buying flower and packing a bowl or rolling a joint.

Gen X also enjoys convenience but dedicates up to 29% of their wallet share to pre-rolls instead of vape pens.

The difference between young and old cannabis consumers is staggering. Gen Z consumers’ preference for vape pens is 191.5% higher than for Baby Boomers.

Edible Data in Canada Skewed by Poor Regulations 

Millennials Gen Z Cannabis

According to the data, edibles are less prevalent in Canada than in the United States. However, there are a couple of reasons for this.

Number one is the arbitrary (and possibly illegal) THC cap on edibles. All edibles in Canada cannot contain more than 10mg of THC. This makes them highly unpopular for your typical connoisseur and insulting to medical patients. 

We find the second reason in the concentrate data. In the United States, concentrates are more popular with younger consumers. In Canada, concentrates are more popular with older consumers.

However, we can explain this anomaly through Health Canada‘s irrational (and subject to random change) regulations. Without the same THC limit on concentrates Canada has on edibles, many consumers purchase edible products disguised as concentrates.

This has prompted Health Canada to crack down and close the loophole.

Millennials & Gen Z Dominate Cannabis Industry

What’s the main takeaway from the fact that millennials & Gen Z now dominate the cannabis industry? Namely, that flower can be dethroned. While pre-rolls are as convenient as vape pens, it’s easier to contain the smell of the latter. 

If you’re the type of stoner who likes daytime sativa strains, it’s easier and more discrete to hit that vape pen than to find an outdoor smoking area to light up a joint

With Millennial and Gen Z consumers accounting for over half of the cannabis market, the industry’s future may be less about cultivating new strains and more about crafting the ideal vape pen.