A new year means new opportunities to speak with esteemed and respected cannabis industry buyers and see what trends are driving the current weed marketplace.
We asked Leonard Waxdeck, the Centralized Buyer for NUG, to see what retail buyers are looking for in 2023. NUG is headquartered in Oakland, California, with a growing fleet of 6 cannabis retail storefronts across the state. It also happens to be the valued, on-site, exclusive Dispensary partner at our Hall of Flowers Trade Show for several years running. NUG has cannabis-buying credibility.
Waxdeck waxes poetic about what his retail chain is focusing on most in 2023, newly emerging consumer trends, and how education lies in the hands of both brands and retailers. 🛒
Tell me, what are you most excited about in 2023? What is NUG excited to see on its way out this year?
“At NUG, we’re always on the lookout for new and innovative products that can drive our retail growth,” says Waxdeck. “For 2023, I’m particularly excited about products that prioritize customer education and transparency through their packaging and branding.”
The more information brands can gift the consumer, the better, explains Waxdeck. “For example, some flower brands are now including information such as genetic lineage, terpene breakdown, and expected effects, making it easier for consumers to choose the right product. This is exciting because it not only helps educate consumers but also shifts the market away from a sole focus on high THC percentages.”
What buying trends are you noticing so far in 2023? What type of flower do you want to see more of from brands?
“In California, we’re observing a trend towards products that deliver specific effects, such as sleep, relaxation, focus, etc.,” says Waxdeck. “Another trend we’re seeing is a growing demand for high-quality, consistent products. Customers seem willing to pay a premium for brands that offer reliable products at a stable price point.”
Are there 2023 trends for consumers when it comes to edibles and drinkables?
“In terms of edibles and drinkables, we have found that products that are high in THC with larger dose sizes are selling particularly well. However, lower-dose and/or high CBD edibles and drinkables are starting to gain traction with the health and wellness customer base. I believe we will see this shift over the next year as brands market their edibles/drinkables toward the specific effects these customers are looking for. In 2023 this shift can be seen already as customers are leaning towards THC-V and CBN edibles/drinkables.”
Which segments do you see consumers loving this year? Is there a renewed focus on any specific product segment?
“Consumers are showing a strong preference for cannabis brands that prioritize transparency about ingredients and sourcing, as well as those that focus on sustainability and ethical practices,” says Waxdeck.
He has reason to believe that the premium and craft markets will continue bloom as consumers come around in their knowledge of craft practices. “There’s also a renewed focus on small, artisanal brands that offer unique, high-quality products.”
In your experience since you started in the industry: Have consumers evolved in their education of products?
“Since I started in the industry, I’ve noticed that consumers have become more knowledgeable about the products they purchase. However, there’s still a widespread misconception that high THC percentages equate to high quality,” says Waxdeck. “The silver lining is that customers want to buy high-quality products, but are uneducated on how to accurately do so.”
He says that the “average customer are increasingly looking for information about terpenes, ingredients, sourcing, and production methods.”
“I believe that retailers and brands need to work together to educate consumers on what defines quality in order to shift their purchasing behavior in the future.”