Pre-Rolls Positioned to Become Industry Number One

Stephen Andrews
10 Jul 2023

Pre-rolls, anyone? You won't be wrong to say it's the word of the year. Wonder why? If there is anything from cannabis products that could outperform flower sales sometime in the near future this is it. Pre-rolls market share tremendously grew during last year, 2022, latest data confirms. Vapes, edibles, drinks and oils are also holding strong, all while the market for tinctures, capsules and topicals is shrinking.

Pre-Rolls: The Product Category Storming to the Top

Last month, Custom Cones USA, a leading pre-roll resource, along with data firm Headset, released the most comprehensive report so far on the state of the pre-roll segment of the cannabis market. 

The report reveals that pre-rolls remain the fastest-growing product category in Cannabis, and if pre-rolls popularity continues at this pace, it will be the number one offer from the industry by 2030. 

In the US, pre-rolls saw 12% growth year-over-year, while in Canada, that's a whopping 38% year-over-year. The data applies for the period between Nov. 2021 and 2022. 

The team from Custom Cones USA polled more than 300 companies from every part of the pre-roll industry, including cannabis manufacturers, hemp manufacturers, brands, agencies, dispensaries, and national operators to get those numbers. 

Potency seems to be a key factor in picking a product. Infused pre-rolls, which are the stronger option, take the lead over other pre-roll options such as hybrid pre-rolls and disposable vape pens. 

The popularity trend is more than obvious in Canada, where infused pre-rolls grew by a gigantic 1,426%, followed by a 440% climb in hybrid strain pre-rolls and 160% in disposable vape pens. In the US, infused pre-rolls saw a market growth of 22%. Hybrid strain pre-rolls climbed by 64% and disposables by 60%. 

Since 2021, data suggests a nearly 400% growth in multi-pre-roll packs that weigh 2 or 5 grams. 

What is Driving Pre-Rolls Sales Forward?

Over the last few years, the wholesale price of flower has dropped dramatically. From a business point of view, that's terrible for some cannabis operators since wholesale prices is one of the big factors affecting performance. But it is this very situation that has created a fertile ground for pre-rolls. Regardless of the wholesale drop, it's affordable to produce pre-rolls and have them at prices that generate profits. 

Another blessing is technology. Producers no longer have to infuse each pre-roll manually as they now have access to machinery that can do the job for them. With automated cone-filling machines and automated pre-roll machines at their disposal, operators get high-quality smokable product for lower cost of labor. 

Who is into Pre-Rolls?

Everyone seems to enjoy pre-rolls. It's often that we hear that different age groups lean toward specific product types, but pre-rolls have defied age groups. Data shows it's consistently used across all generations: 

  • Baby boomers - 12.8% 
  • Generation X - 13.6%
  • Millennials - 14.5%
  • Gen Z - 14.4%.

By far, pre-rolls are the most convenient way to consume cannabis flower. It's just there. Done and rolled for you. And if the strain is potent and costs only few bucks, who would say no to that?

Stephen Andrews