A USA Today Network survey found that baby boomers are turning to cannabis for pain relief, affluent families are using it to ease tension and stress, and women are driving the growth of the CBD wellness product market. The study looked at attitudes and consumption of 8,805 consumers ages 21-64 in the 21 states where cannabis is legal. The study’s accompanying report offers advice on running a cannabis business.
Baby boomers, the fastest growing segment of users, visit dispensaries less frequently, but spend more per visit, than younger consumers, according to the study. More than one third of this group spends over 75$ per visit, and lifestyle and health issues drive much of their consumption. They try cannabis for everyday concerns such as anxiety, sleep issues, and aches and pains. Pain relief was their top stated reason for use.
Many in the group still feel there is a stigma around showing up at a dispensary or talking to a budtender about what they are looking for. A cottage industry of businesses has sprung up to meet those needs, offering education and help choosing products online and even delivering them. One example is Sava which helps people use cannabis “for wellness and pleasure.” It delivers in the San Francisco Bay area. Octavia Wellness of California focuses solely on seniors.
The study found that people were three times more likely to go to a website for information than to a doctor when it came to cannabis , so retailers should find out where their customers turn to online to know where best to spend marketing dollars.
Usage among women grew by 38% last year according to the study, “especially usage of CBD and more wellness-oriented products.”
Businesses are focusing on these consumers. Sweet Jane, a new magazine, is aimed at women and mothers who are curious about cannabis. Topics include how to use cannabis, research on the substance, advocacy, and removing stigma. Ellementa Gatherings are meetings where experts and everyday users share stories and learn about new cannabis and CBD products.
Another growing segment the report suggests businesses look into is made up of so-called, “Acceptors.” These are the adult non-users across age and economic spectrums who are open to consuming cannabis but haven’t yet. The survey found that the impetus for cannabis use they were most open to, is pain management.
The report estimates a market potential of $2.1 billion for these “Acceptors,” but cautions that businesses would need to look at specific needs and sub-segments to make the best marketing decisions.
Because it is in its infancy, big brands aren’t part of the product or retail dispensary landscape yet. The study found that customers base their purchases on a store’s location, prices it offers, product selection and friendliness of staff. The report advises stores to tightly integrate all facets of their customer experience, including advertising, online presence, staff engagement, and products around a central consistent story.