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Pre-roll Sales: 2020’s Impact

Pre-roll Sales: 2020’s Impact

Posted by Custom Cones USA on Aug 28th 2020

The cannabis industry has gone through many changes due to recent world events (we are looking at you COVID-19). Gone are the days of waiting in long lines to purchase your product and looking at the different strains and variations offered at your local dispensary. New options were introduced--online orders and pickups, contactless payments, and dispensaries officially being declared an “essential business.”

Here at Custom Cones USA we specialize in all things pre-rolls. The purpose of this post is to take a deeper dive into the consumer metrics for the pre-roll industry in 2020 thus far. We’ll take a look at how the different generations (Gen Z, Millennials, Generation X, Boomers and the Silent Generation) purchase their preferred pre-roll type and how that has had an impact on the market share in specific states where cannabis is legalized.

For the purposes of this article and for future reference let's take a look at how Pew Research Center defines each generation:

  • Gen Z are born between 1997 and 2012
  • Millennials are born between 1981 and 1996
  • Generation X are born between 1965 and 1980
  • Boomers are born between 1946 and 1964
  • The Silent Generation are born between 1928 and 1945


As recreational marijuana becomes more common across the country, consumers are beginning to explore other options for consuming their favorite strains. Vapes, edibles and now pre-rolls are dominating market share as flower and bud sales start to go on a slow decline for those who purchase pre-roll products.

2020 Pre-Rolls: The Current Trends

It is pretty apparent that pre-rolls are more popular amongst younger consumers as compared to their older counterparts. In fact, Generation X is buying pre-rolls at a significantly higher rate (nearly double) than that of the Silent Generation.

It is important to note that what was once named as a “joint” has been rebranded to the beloved “pre-roll” as cannabis has become recreationally legalized in the last couple years across the country. Pre-rolls can be bought with a variety of strains, percentages, singular packs or even in bulk multipacks. The easy and convenient nature of these little cones has contributed to their increased popularity in recent years and will continue the trend in the years to come.

Of the total sales for pre-rolls in 2020 thus far, pre-rolls have attributed to 9.1% of those total sales and 31% of all cannabis customers purchased a pre-roll which demonstrates their popularity amongst cannabis customers -- often times being bought as an add-on product to the rest of their purchase. 

2020 Pre Rolls: The Age Gap
It is fairly obvious that Gen Z has a certain affinity for pre-rolls. Not only are they a convenient way to consume cannabis, but oftentimes, they come at a reduced price as compared to their cannabinoid counterparts. The reduced price and multipack options with varying strains and dosages, make them overall more appealing to the younger generations. 

It is important that we differentiate between the two distinct categories of cannabis buyers -- the recreational users and the wellness users. These two groups fall right in line with the current pre-roll trends we see. Oftentimes the older generations (the silent generation and boomers) are consuming cannabis products for the wellness aspect (think CBD, capsules and tinctures), while Millennials and Gen Z are buying cannabis for more of a recreational use (think flower, vapes and THC heavy pre-rolls).

The line is even further drawn when we compare the gender trends we see with the pre-roll market. Older women are more likely to purchase products for wellness purposes as compared to men who generally have a certain affinity for the recreational side of their good friend Mary Jane.

2020 Pre-Rolls: Who Should You Market To?

Knowing and understanding current market trends is important to the overall success of your cannabis venture as it allows you to better understand who you should be marketing your products to.

Based on the current market share for pre-rolls and looking at the previous discussed trends, it can be perceived that marketing your recreational use pre-rolls should definitely be geared towards younger people as they are the prime candidates to purchase these products (Gen Z women purchase pre-rolls at a shocking 15% higher average compared to 8% for Gen Z men).

I wouldn't go as far as to discredit older buyers and stop marketing towards them altogether. Actually it is becoming increasingly common that Boomers and the Silent Generation are in the market for cannabis based products for wellness purposes (insomnia, pain relief, anxiety relief, etc.) and as a result, there is a growing market for CBD hemp joints. Knowing this information your business can gear your CBD heavy products towards those seeking wellness relief (hint: your more seasoned customer base) and there is a good chance you could see positive trends beginning to emerge.

2020 Pre-Rolls: Here to Stay?

With vapes and other methods of consuming cannabis increasing in popularity, it poses the question: are pre-rolls here to stay? The answer is: absolutely!

The current market for pre-rolls is on a heavy incline as people still want to smoke flower/bud but without all the work that goes into rolling their own joint or the maintenance that comes with a pipe or bong. Pre-rolls offer a significant advantage to those who want the effects that come with smoking flower while having that additional east of use that pre-rolls are known for.

In fact we can see that in 2017, Washington state grossed a whopping $68million in pre-roll sales alone. The states of Oregon, Colorado, and California, had their own success stories bringing in $10million, $21million and $42million respectively.

These numbers say a lot about the popularity that comes with pre-rolls and we can say with confidence that they are here to stay.

Custom Cones USA: Pre-rolls the Right Way.

Here at Custom Cones USA we are the pre-roll experts! We have been part of the emerging pre-roll market from the very beginning and offer a variety of products and services that your business can use to scale and grow your brand!

We offer unbranded and custom designed pre-roll cones using a variety of different paper types and sizes.

Not only do we have products for the pre-rolls themselves, we also have a variety of packaging options to house your product! These packaging options can be printed and tailored to fit your exact needs.

The BEST thing about Custom Cones USA is that we are a one stop shop! With us you get it all and even more!

For more information regarding our product selections and services please check out our full catalog which can be found here.