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Ontario Gen Z Buying More Than Ever

According to new data from Headset, in the past year, Gen Z customers have become the fastest-growing demographic, specifically Gen Z females in Ontario who are buying more than ever.

Demographics in Ontario

When comparing year-over-year sales between November 2020 and November 2021, Headset found that while male customers take more of the share of spending, both male and female customers increased their spending on cannabis products. Over the year, spending by those in the male category increased 75% from $50.7 million to $88.6 million and spending by those in the female category increased 58% from $30.5 million to $48.2 million.

Looking at age-group demographics, Gen Z are the category with the largest growth year-over-year, with sales ballooning 137%. In November 2020, this category brought in $54.8 million in sales, but by November 2021, Gen Z was spending $148.3 million on cannabis products. Comparatively, Gen Z has the second-smallest slice of the pie, though. Millennial customers make up the bulk of sales, bringing in $422.3 million of $808.2 million total sales, with Gen X in second place with $177.9 million. All age groups saw considerable growth, however. “Don’t count out the Baby Boomer generation,” reads Headset’s report. “Although their collective sales make up the smallest amount purchasing among age groups, they grew at a slightly faster rate than Millennial and Gen X groups.”

Courtesy of Headset

Wallet Share

Across the board, all age groups tend to spend the majority of their wallets on flower, however, flower’s market share has given way to pre-rolls, with around 5% of flower sales in all demographics seemingly transferring to pre-rolls. This is particularly evident in the Gen Z category where we see flower’s 52.5% share drop to 47.2% in 2021, while pre-rolls that made up 15.1% in 2020 accounted for 20% in 2021. “As customers in this group continually age into the market, their collective share of total Ontario sales is steadily increasing,” says Headset.

Courtesy of Headset

Millennials in 2020 devoted 60.2% of their wallet to flower and 13.7% to pre-rolls, but in 2021 flower’s share dropped 9% and pre-rolls increased to 19.9%, and Millennials showed a bit more interest in concentrates and edibles. Similar trends can be seen across the other categories, with older age groups gravitating away from smokeables to edibles.

Spotlight: Gen Z

As the fastest-growing category, Headset’s report highlighted some of the demographical preferences of the youngest customer category. While it can be tricky to compare statistics for this group due to different ages of access, however, it’s fair to say that male and female Gen Z shoppers in Ontario both enjoy their flower. Whether it’s in pre-rolls or not, flower made up over 80% of the wallet share for both in 2020.

Courtesy of Headset

Their buying habits changed in 2021 though. For Gen Z females, flower’s 6% drop was divvied out amongst pre-rolls (1% increase), vapes (4% increase), and edibles. Gen Z males leaned away from flower as well, even pre-rolls, and shifted heavily towards vapes. Interestingly, Gen Z females are twice as interested in edibles than males (5.5% versus 2.8%) and more into flower than their Albertan counterparts, who spend more on vapes.

As the fastest-growing market and the freshest customers, so to speak, younger shoppers will have different needs and wants than Gen X or Baby Boomer so be sure your store is equipped for them.