What are the Demographics of the Cannabis Industry?
Consumers remain frustrated with information about cannabis products, and that’s your opportunity
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 base of consumers. The more you know about the buying behaviors and specific characteristics of population segments, the better you are able to market to them. As the market matures, certain demographics will demand specific types of content to put your cannabis products into their worldview.
Demographics is much more than age and sex. Race, occupation, income, education, and even location play a part in consumer behavior. Here’s some insight into demographics based on retail sales data provided by BDS Analytics.
The cannabis industry is booming
Booming as in the Baby Boomer Generation. Cannabis is a product that easily spans demographics based on age. In the case of Boomers – people born following the end of World War II, usually considered to be in the years from 1946 to 1964 – cannabis has a dual allure. CNBC reports that cannabis use in American adults over the age of 65 increased 10 times from 2007 to 2017. And while many Boomers are turning to cannabis to treat health issues, nearly 60 percent also say they consume it as a way to unwind or have a good time.
As a cannabis brand, your opportunity is education. A recent study shows that older adults are frustrated with the information they can find – or get from their physicians – about cannabis. Both consumers and the professionals who treat them for health conditions are eager for education and perspective about cannabis products. The numbers can’t be ignored. A 2018 study shows that nine percent of people aged 50 to 64 report using cannabis – double the amount from a study undertaken in 2006.
Entrepreneur reports that cannabis consumption by females nearly doubled in 2018. Let’s dive deeper into this number. According to cannabis technology platform Eaze, 25 percent of women reported using cannabis products in 2015. That number jumped to 38 percent in 2018.
The growing number of products containing CBD has spurred this usage spike in female consumers who turn to cannabis products for wellness needs.
The merging of the markets
Medical usage and recreational usage still remain as two distinct markets, but that distinction is blurring. BDS Analytics reports that cannabis medical dispensaries are declining, while recreational use stores are increasing. Is this because medical-related usage has decreased?
The explosive growth of cannabis usage by Baby Boomers shows this is not the case. 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, as well as 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. For example, Green Entrepreneur recently reported that a new study analyzed data from an app that tracks cannabis usage for research purposes. The study tracked 3,300 people and 20,000 recorded sessions, and the results have created a shockwave. According to direct experiences from users, it was the THC level and not the CBD level that generated measurable improvements in symptoms ranging from anxiety and depression to seizures and chronic pain.
What are consumers to make of this research? THC remains an illegal substance, which makes it unavailable for research. As more information becomes available from vetted sources, cannabis brands must be prepared to help consumers understand the information and gain perspective from it.
Smoke it, eat it, or drink it?
It’s estimated that American consumers spent nearly $1 billion for edible cannabis products in 2017. The market is expected to surpass $4 billion in the next four years – and it’s why companies such as Molson-Coors and even Coca-Cola have partnered with cannabis companies to develop CDB-infused beverages. BDS Analytics reports that $30 million worth of cannabis-infused beverages were purchased in 2018, which made up five percent of the edibles market.
CBD products can be sold outside of medical dispensaries. THC beverages such as cannabis beer or alcohol-free wine infused with cannabis cannot. The entire cannabis beverage market is expected to grow to $374 million by 2022. Cannabis brands that double down on creating content that helps consumers understand the difference between THC and CBD products will reap the benefits.
Targeting by type
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 the split between use for health and wellness or for recreational purposes. And then there’s your dog. CNBC reports that cannabis products for pets could become a $1 billion industry by 2022.
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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