February 2021

Top takeaways from the wholesale cannabis industry’s data engine


Each month, LeafLink Insights will share data-driven insights into some key topics like category sales, state by state performance, and pricing analysis. These takeaways are meant to help you better understand where the industry is headed and what kinds of opportunities exist for your business.

For a deep dive into our customizable, single-source analytics products, please request a demo.

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National View: The wholesale cannabis industry, as measured by LeafLink’s GMV (Gross Merchandise Value), grew 93% in January 2021 year-over-year (YoY).*

When analyzing brands on LeafLink starting prior to January 1, 2020, GMV grew 31% YoY in January 2021. The top-performing brands for each of our six key states in January were:

  • VAPEN (AZ)

  • Jeeter (CA)

  • Spectra (CO)

  • Platinum Vape (MI)

  • Stiizy (NV)

  • Pharmer's Market (OR)


State View: Arizona grew the fastest at 125% compared with the same period a year ago.

Categories: Flower saw the largest drop in platform market share (-2.9 percentage points) from December 2020 to January 2021 but maintained the top spot.

Buyers and Sellers: During January 2021, average sales per seller grew 35% YoY, and average spend per buyer grew 45% YoY.


Arizona market grows triple digits














For January 2021, wholesale cannabis sales measured by transactions on LeafLink’s marketplace  (GMV) increased by 96% YoY.

To help clients better understand state-level trends, we disclose market-specific information for six key states each month. Out of those disclosed this month, four states grew at an accelerated pace year-over-year: Arizona, Colorado, Michigan and Nevada. Notably, Nevada grew after three consecutive months of year-over-year decline. Oregon was flat year-over-year and California growth decelerated, but still grew double digits, year-over-year. Growth rates in this chart represent YoY growth of brands on the platform since January 2020.


Flower starts the new year off strong

Flower, our largest category, gained 3.2 percentage points year-over-year in share to end January 2021 at 30.5%. Bulk Flower, gained 2.1 percentage points year-over-year. Cartridges gained share and comprised 26.8% of GMV in January 2021. The third-largest category, Edibles & Ingestibles, continued its decline since 2019 and comprised 18.9% of our GMV in January 2021.



Comparing Buyer Audiences in Nevada vs. Michigan

This month, we compared Average Order Value for Retailers in NV and MI. The top 20% of retailers in OK spent $2,136 per order during the previous three months, a mere 4% less than the top 20% of retailers in MI. While they spent less on average per order, NV buyers in this bucket purchased more frequently, giving them a higher overall monthly value. Targeting retailers in the 3rd quintiles (or the “average” buyers for each state) could be the most lucrative way to increase a brand’s sales in NV and MI.

To advertise to buyers in your state, please reach out to our Advertising team.

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Edibles & Ingestibles are among the most crowded categories in Oregon and Colorado

Each month, we visualize the relative competitiveness (as measured by the distance from the trendline in the charts below) of 7 categories in key states to help clients best position themselves for the future and take advantage of opportunities to capture market share.

Oregon and Colorado are among our most competitive markets. In January 2021, Edibles & Ingestibles was the most competitive category in Oregon. 40% of brands sold the category, which only comprised 16% of the state's GMV. Pre-rolls are almost as competitive in Oregon. In Colorado, Edibles & Ingestibles was also a highly competitive category, with 43% of brands selling the category while only making up 26% of sales.


Transaction volume is up by over 35% YoY

In January, we saw a 68/32 split between brands seeing an increase in sales, with the majority seeing an increase during the month. Median brand growth was approximately 32% MoM, while those that declined saw a median reduction of 19%. Overall average transaction volume per brand increased by 2% MoM during this month and increased 35% compared to the same period last year.

The top brands in terms of same-store sales growth in each core state were VAPEN (AZ), Jeeter (CA), Spectra (CO), Platinum Vape (MI), Stiizy (NV), and Pharmer’s Market (OR). 



Retailers spent 45% more in January 2021 vs. January 2020

We saw similar upwards growth when analyzing January 2021 buyer spend. 55% of buyers increased spend at this time, and the median growth in 36% MoM spending. Those buyers who did reduce their spend decreased it by 21%. Average transaction volume per buyer decreased by 7% MoM and grew over 45% compared to the same period last year.


Flower prices fell in January


Average listed Flower prices*** peaked at $1,356 during January 2021 before falling to $1,243 to end the month. In California specifically, Flower prices rose during January, ending the month 1.5% above the previous high.

Average listed Concentrates prices** rose consistently in January, increasing nearly 3% per week during the month. At the end of January, the average price of Concentrates was $42.43, roughly 2% above the high seen during December 2020.

*In each of 2019 and 2020, we lock the number of brands on January 1st of each year and measure GMV for these brands only.

**Same store sales refers to the comparison of GMV for the same brands in the 2019 period to GMV for the same brands in the 2020 period.

***Flower pricing is in lbs and concentrates is in grams.

Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) is defined as unit price times quantity sold. This is a barometer for overall volume of activity on our marketplace.  

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About LeafLink Insights

LeafLink Insights is the intelligence engine of the cannabis industry. By connecting brands, retailers, investors, and other industry participants to real-time first-party data, LeafLink powers smart and rapid industry growth. To learn how our suite of customizable analytics products can help your business optimize sales performance, request a demo.

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