millennials Archives - Green Market Report

StaffDecember 21, 2020


Editors Note: This story was written by Alanna Zavoico. 

Seeing how Gen-Zers and Millennials account for nearly 40% of the entire cannabis market, it is critical for brands to have a deep understanding of these demographics in order to effectively grab their attention and favor. Thankfully, Headquarters (HQ) recently released a study, the HQ Cannabis Brand Affinity Report, in collaboration with The Statement Group, revealing Gen-Z and Millennial top interests, passions and values to better enable cannabis companies to elevate and amplify their marketing strategies.

The Findings

The good news for cannabis marketers is that Gen-Z and Millennials are very open to being influenced and actually look to outside brands and influencers to lead the way in trends, meaning they play a significantly heavier role in guiding these demographics’ purchasing decisions. This is evidenced by the whopping 44% of Gen-Zers that have made a purchase decision based on an influencer.

“There are influencers with reach and influencers that make an actual impact on their followers. It’s all about deciphering between those two,” commented Danial Abrahami, CEO of HQ. “Wasted ad spend comes from brands that don’t understand which individuals have the most influence, and on a deeper level which have influence on their consumers. This report makes a distinction between these two possible marketing pathways.”

Of the 56 categories identified in the algorithms, Hip-Hop, R&B, fashion, influencers and gaming dominated among Gen-Z and Millennial lifestyle cannabis consumers in 2020. Gaming has always had a strong link with cannabis, but now the connection is concrete. Meanwhile, study supervisors were surprised by fashion’s high level of importance. 

Some of the biggest names in Popularity Score, which ranks A-Listers and Top Brands with a large following, include Supreme (89), Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton (78) and A Bathing Ape (73). The Best Value fashion brands, or those less relevant to the average consumer but still significant to Gen-Z and Millennials, were Just Don (94), Union (91) and Staple Pigeon (90).


To compile the data, HQ utilized a series of proprietary algorithms that analyze social media connections between brands, influencers, their followers and so on. They ultimately looked at millions – sometimes billions – of connections in terms of what Gen-Zers and Millennials are following and engaging with online, then separated those into 56 different categories. This is broken out into Mindshare Tiers, which measure the significance of one category compared to all 56 categories and interests based on the number of accounts in a specific group the consumer follows. 

From that distinction, HQ drills down into which are most important in order to uncover the specific individuals and brands that are highly relevant to each demographic, represented by their Value Scores. These signify the high-value opportunities that cannabis brands can utilize to reach their target audience at an affordable expense.

Their insight goes beyond the age, sex and location of the consumers available through other data providers or in industry overviews. This is the actual audience of cannabis brands in real-time, and who and what is significant to them.

“We dig deeper to lay bare the cannabis icons, top artists and leading brands that your consumers truly love and feel a personal connection with,” added Cory Jones, Founder of The Statement Group. “Their reach ranges from thousands to millions of followers, and it may surprise some marketers to realize that those in the former would provide a higher ROI than those in the latter. When you know exactly who your audience engages with, there is no guessing or wasted spending on marketing campaigns and partnerships.”

Why it’s important

According to Business Insider, Gen-Z spending power hit $143 billion in January 2020 and Millennials spend roughly $600 billion annually. Together they hold a significant amount of power in the market, yet are especially tough-to-reach demographics. This data helps cannabis brands hone in on what is important and where is best to spend their money. Using this report as a guide, they don’t have to spend as much of their budget in their efforts to reach their audience in a meaningful way because they understand which brands and influencers are most effective and relevant to their target consumers.

“In a day and age where building communities around brands and establishing authentic connections is table stakes for cannabis brands, this is extremely critical for brands to consider when putting together messaging and campaigns, and who they are partnering with for marketing,” added Abrahami.

Julie AitchesonAugust 3, 2020


The differences between Baby Boomers (i.e. those born during a marked rise in birth rate, thought to be 1946-1964) and Millennials (born 1981-1996 or thereabouts) vary from the subtle to the stark. With the common friction points of politics, economics, and culture escalating to bare-knuckled debates over human rights and life-or-death public safety issues, polarization is increasing both within and between these generations.

Marijuana dispensary chain Verilife, (a subsidiary of PharmaCann, one of the county’s largest vertically integrated cannabis companies) recently conducted a study to map just one small piece of the Boomer/Millennial divide— the difference in marijuana consumer habits between the two. 

The results of the study (which surveyed 1,000 Millennials and 1,000 Baby Boomers regular marijuana consumers) reflect not only some predictable differences (yes, Boomers are twice as likely to use marijuana in the morning), but commonalities as well, some of which have emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic. Notably, both generations report using marijuana significantly more during the Covid crisis (44% more for Boomers and 36% more for Millennials). 

The biggest difference in consumption occurs around motivation for use, with nearly half of Millennials using for recreational reasons, while Baby Boomers are twice as likely to use marijuana solely for medical purposes. This despite a discrepancy that shows that more Millennials than Boomers believe that cannabis has medical benefits. A correlation might be drawn between Boomers’ higher rate of use for medical issues and the gravity of the illnesses for which they most commonly consume: arthritis, chronic pain, and cancer.

For Millennials, the top three medical reasons are migraines, chronic pain, and managing nausea. Whether the use is medical or recreational, one in five Millennials consider themselves daily users as opposed to only 12% of Baby Boomers.

A review of the report reveals some solid differences but a preponderance of similarities as well, including inhalation as the most preferable way to consume marijuana and the fact that both generations cite relaxation, social use, and anxiety as their three top reasons for recreational use, albeit in different orders of importance. Millennials are twice as likely to use before going to a public gathering or large event to ease social anxiety– a complaint far less frequent among members of the older generation. There is only a $3 difference in monthly spending between Boomers ($75) and Millennials ($78), and only a 2% difference between the Boomers (26%) and Millennials (28%) who said they have consumed marijuana before work. The divide grows a bit larger as far as toking up with the boss is concerned, with Boomers edging out Millennials with a 16% lead.

No doubt these numbers will prove useful to advertisers when crafting their marketing strategies to lure specific demographics to their client brands, but the study also points to the possibility that marijuana may be one tract of common ground upon which Boomers and Millennials can meet without rancor, or at least quite so many scathing memes.

StaffOctober 10, 2017


Millennials are dominating the cannabis market in Washington state. A new report from Headset Cannabis Intelligence found that half of all the marijuana purchases were from people under the age of 35. In 2016, they accounted for 49% of the market and so far in 2017, the number has shifted upwards to 51% of the market.

Generation Xer’s between the age of 35 and 53 were responsible for 35% of cannabis sales for 2017 and the baby boomers who covered the 54-75 age group only managed 15% of sales.

The millennials may be the biggest group coming through the dispensary doors, but they don’t spend that much. The average item price for millennials was $13.87, Gen Xer’s spent  $15.33 and Baby Boomers spent $17.16. The old hippies aged 75 and older are spending $21.09 on average for an item.

The Headset report said, “This data also offers some interesting insight about price sensitivity, showing that Millennials are, as might be expected, more attracted to items with a low overall cost. It might make more sense to buy an entire ounce if you break down the cost per gram, but if you’re just finding your feet in the workforce, that $6 pre-roll special might be a godsend.”

When it comes to product preference, flower is still the big winner. 58% of the millennials buy flower, followed by 17% spent on concentrates and 13% spent on pre-rolls. Gen X is even higher with 63% spent on flower and baby boomers spending o whopping 67% on flower. While all generations seem to agree they like flower, they also seem to agree on the type of flower. Hybrid strains are the predominant choice with over 60% of the money spent on flower going towards hybrid strains. 19% is spent on Indica strains, while 17-19% is spent on Sativa’s.

In the Washington market, there are clear winners for flower favorites. Phat Panda is number one across the three main demographics, while Northwest Cannabis Solutions comes in strong at number two. The remaining top five included the following brands: Artizen Cannabis, Golden Tree Productions, Clandestine Gardens and Fireline Cannabis.

One statistic that is sure to bother dispensary owners and producers is that the average basket size has declined across the board. Gen Xer’s and Baby Boomers experienced a 25% decline in their purchases, while Millennial basket size fell by 18%.

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