Smoke Shop Market Analysis 2023 YTD

September 06, 2023 4 min read

2023 Smoking Accessories Market Poll Reveals Room For Growth Nationwide

Sensing certain trends forming during their daily servicing of the global smokeshop and headshop community, the team at California-based Phoenician Grinders crafted a grassroots questionnaire packed with pertinent inquiries about the current state of the smoking accessories market and sent it to their extensive network of brick and mortar retailers. From coast to coast, the wave of replies that came back showed that opportunity is everywhere.

If you ask people across the country how theyfeel about today’s economy, you’ll get a wide variety of answers. The raw economic data does little to encourage any extreme opinions on the matter as the fact is that the U.S. economy - particularly the retail sector - is doing… well… fine. Not great. Not bad. Just… fine.

It should come as little surprise then that of plethora of responses received by Phoenician Grinders during their recentSummer 2023 Smoking Accessories Market Poll, the overall sentiment was similar to that of the general retail marketplace - things are alright and could be better.

The poll was relatively simple in its scope, but the thoughtfully crafted questions efficiently extracted some useful data that should provide optimism for business owners committed to a long-term strategy of innovation and success.

Phoenician Grinders Summer 2023 Smoking Accessories Market Poll Results

Beginning in July 2023, hundreds of headshop and smokeshop managers and owners were asked for their location, their number of years in business, and to rate their overall sales for each of the past three years on a scale of 1-10. Some shops reported a year-over-year growth in sales, but they were rare, and when averaged together the results showed a downward trend each year:

Average Smokeshop Retail Sales Rating (Scale: 1-10)

2021 - 7.2/10

2022 - 6.3/10

2023 (Q1 & Q2) - 4.8/10

Respondents were then asked to rate the following product categories as eitherFLAT,TRENDING UP, orTRENDING DOWN.

The most common response or responses are listed beside each category below:

  • Papers (FLAT, TRENDING UP)
  • Blunts (FLAT, TRENDING UP)
  • Grinders (FLAT)
  • E-Liquid/Vaporizers (FLAT, TRENDING UP)
  • Dry Vaporizers (FLAT)
  • Oil Vaporizers (TRENDING UP)
  • Kratom (FLAT, TRENDING UP)

  • These findings mesh with the overall American consumer economy that is experiencing low and slow growth by extraordinarily high prices on necessities like food, fuel, and housing. This leaves many consumers with little or no so-called ‘disposable’ income.

    Many of those who responded lamented about customers only wanting “cheap” imported products, or similarly about competitors undercutting their market by offering such low-end products.

    There is nothing worse though than wasting what little money you have on something that barely functions or brings you no pleasure. This is an opportunity for retailers to earn trust with their customers through sales and giveaways to put high-quality products in their hands when they need them the most. A customer might only buy one or two Phoenician Grinders in their life, but they will buy papers and wraps every week from the shop where they got the world’s best weed grinder.

    Asked for deeper insight, respondents reported struggles with high taxes and hiring/staffing - again, a mirror-reflection of the economy at large - and most predicted that the FLAT trends they are seeing will likely continue for the next year.

    Will that truly be the case?

    Smoking Accessories Market Expected to Reach $90B By 2030

    According toa report released by Grand View Research, the global smoking accessories market was valued at roughly $64 billion in 2021 and it is expected to exceed &90B by the year 2030.

    The steadydrop in popularity of tobacco use and alcohol consumption -particularly among young adults - is nothing new, but it is now being backstopped by ongoing cannabis reform and legalization that can breathe new life into local headshops and smokeshops who recognize and embrace the changes.

    A Volcano and a Puffco are technically both vaporizers but the shops whose staff know and appreciate the differences between the two are the ones who are thriving in today’s market malaise. 

    New York, for example, is on the verge of becoming one of the largest legal cannabis markets on the planet creating tens if not hundreds of thousands of curious consumers into full-fledged connoisseurs and they will all be looking to gear up with the most popular papers, grinders, vaporizers, and more!

    Here’s the reality, though - you don’t even need to be based in New York to cash in on that demand.

    The same report from GVR revealed that 75% of sales in the smoking accessories marketplace happen face-to-face in the store itself, compared to 25% online sales. This is attributed to the “on demand” nature of smoking supplies - nobody wants to wait a few days for a pack of papers, right? However, online sales are expected to continue to eat away at those percentages over the coming years.

    This is just another opportunity for already established headshops and smokeshops. If you are not already selling your inventory online, you ought to be! You can still focus on your brick and mortar business but if you ignore the internet you are leaving money on the table for the next guy to grab.

    Frustrated head shop and smoke shop owners are right, customers can go anywhere for cheap weed grinders or rolling papers. Become the authority on high quality products coupled with exceptional service and you’ll keep your customers coming back to you for years to come. 

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