What are the Demographics of the Cannabis Industry?
The audience for cannabis products is increasing, giving you plenty of opportunities to market to key demographics.
- Baby Boomers have increased their cannabis use by 75% in just four years
- Women are also becoming heavy cannabis users, reaching 51% in 2021
- Both recreational and medical markets are booming as more states legalize
- Edibles are leading current product sales
Pizza? Everybody loves it. You don’t have to know much about the makeup of pizza consumers to successfully market to them, right? Wait a minute. What kind of pizza? Is it frozen and available at the grocery store, or is it fresh-made and delivered? Is it Chicago-style? Maybe keto-style with a cauliflower crust? Where and how many people have each of these types of pizza preferences? Do the preferences overlap?
The only way to know is to dig into the demographics of pizza consumption. Cannabis – like pizza – does not have a unified consumer base. "The more you know about the buying behaviors and specific characteristics of population segments, the better you can market to them." As the market matures, certain demographics will demand specific types of content to put your cannabis products into their worldview.
The term demographics means much more than age and sex. Race, occupation, income, education, and even location play a part in consumer behavior.
This article will walk through some of the most important demographic trends you need to know as a cannabis brand.
Cannabis use is booming … with Boomers
Cannabis is a product that easily spans age demographics. The baby boomer generation – people born following the end of World War II, usually considered to be in 1946 to 1964 – has significantly increased its use of cannabis in recent years, as more and more states are legalizing both medical and medical recreational use.
One report found that "people over 65 increased marijuana use by 75% in just four years." Most people in this generation who use it are recreational users say that they partake for relaxation purposes. Baby boomers spend an average of $75 per month on cannabis, and 44% have been consuming more since COVID-19.
As a cannabis brand, you need to consider where this generation is coming from and provide education about cannabis and its safety. One study showed that older adults can be frustrated with the information available to them about cannabis, even from their physicians. Yet 89% of Boomers believe cannabis has medical benefits, and 63% think there’s a lack of information about obtaining a medical card, according to Verilife data.
The cannabis future is female
Another opportunity for your cannabis brand is to focus on women.
"The number of female cannabis users has increased in recent years, reaching 51% in 2021."
These users are generally younger and consume cannabis more heavily than men, according to Brightfield Group.
Increases in wellness trends that incorporate cannabis products may be driving the trend. Female consumers tend to prefer gummies and use marijuana to help with mental or physical health issues more than their men counterparts, and they take it at night to help with relaxation and sleep. The COVID-19 pandemic increased stress and anxiety for many, which is another reason women may be consuming more cannabis.
So, think about how you can focus your marketing efforts on women and why they want to consume cannabis.
Medical and recreational markets are both growing
Medical and recreational cannabis use still remain two distinct markets, but that distinction is blurring. 44% of Americans can now legally access recreational cannabis, and the number of recreational retailers is growing.
But, baby boomers still use marijuana for medical purposes more than any other, so the two markets clearly remain strong. The combination of medical and recreational use is being facilitated by business models. Cannabis usage has become more mainstream, and consumers are eager for education to help them understand the health and wellness benefits and the idea of cannabis as a replacement for alcohol.
Educational marketing material will be even more important to consumers as more research is made available to the public. There has long been confusion about the benefits of CBD, THC, and a mix of the two. Which is better and provides more health benefits? A big challenge is that THC isn’t yet a legal substance on the federal level, so there isn’t much research available.
But, that could change soon. In the U.S., 18 states have now legalized recreational cannabis use, and there is a federal bill in the works to decriminalize marijuana.
As more information becomes available from vetted sources, cannabis brands must be prepared to help consumers understand the rapid changes to marijuana laws and the health benefits and risks of cannabis.
How do consumers consume cannabis?
A report from Eaze found that edibles were the most commonly consumed cannabis format for all generations except Gen Z, who have vapes at the top of the list. But, flowers, prerolls, and concentrates saw an increase in purchases from 2020 to 2021.
MJBiz found that edible sales grew more than any other products in 2021 with gummies dominating in terms of popularity, and they made up about $1 billion in retail sales.
Cannabis beverage sales are also booming, with the global market expected to reach $19,063.58 million in 2028, with drinks infused with cannabis seeing increased demand during the pandemic.
There is also confusion and uncertainty about CBD versus THC products and where consumers can find them. CBD products, including beverages, can be sold outside of medical dispensaries, while THC beverages such as cannabis beer or alcohol-free wine infused with cannabis cannot.
Cannabis brands that double down on creating content that helps consumers understand the difference between THC and CBD products and all the different ways to consume each will reap the benefits.
Need better content for your cannabis business?
Cannabis marketing is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Different demographics seek specific benefits from THC and CBD, and within each consumer group, there’s a split between use for health and wellness or for recreational purposes. And then there’s your dog. By 2028, the global CBD pet market could reach $4.79 billion.
With all the moving parts of the cannabis industry, brands have lots of opportunities to inform consumers and help them meet their personal goals. ContentBacon can help you get the right content to engage people and make big waves in the cannabis industry.
Learn more about how we can help you engage your target demographic with cannabis-related inbound marketing that focuses on education and perspective.
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