Our “Soccer Moms Inhale & Other Cannabis Consumer Stories” webinar took place on December 3, 2019 and was hosted by Jessica Lukas, BDS Analytics’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Development.
The webinar provided an overview of the current consumer landscape and the evolution of consumers since cannabis legalization, profiling key consumer segments and debunking cannabis consumer myths via BDS Analytics’ in-depth and trending consumer research.
Jessica Lukas: Welcome and thank you all for joining us today as we talk about some different cannabis consumer segments and debunking some of the consumer myths that exist. My name is Jessica Lukas, I’m the Senior Vice President of Commercial Development at BDS Analytics and I will be taking you through this webinar today.
With that, let’s go ahead and get started. Before we jump into the consumer myths, I just want to take a little bit of time to walk through where we are. Where’s the market and how has consumer attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors evolved over the last few years?
So to start out, likely not surprising to most of you, the majority of the population agrees with some form of legalization. Both in the US and Canada you can see a general acceptance, broad acceptance of some form of legalization. A lot of that driven in some part to the belief that there are medical benefits for marijuana consumption.
If we take this a step further, as we think about the consumer research that we conduct in BDS Analytics, it is trending research. We’re looking at the entire census representative population on a state by state basis. We then look at the stages of legalization across the US with there being five stages and then we look at the total US. we do the same thing in Canada, so province by province and then total country Canada. As we think about fully legal states, so that’s what you’re viewing here, that includes Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Massachusetts. So fully legal with a retail landscape.
We are tracking and identifying the population based on three key segments, whether people are cannabis consumers, so they have consumed cannabis products in the past six months, acceptors, don’t currently consume but open to it and rejectors. Again, this is trending research we conduct twice a year. We’re getting ready to release our fourth round of research across the total US and you can see here the evolution of the marketplace over time. In these fully legal markets, we are now above two-thirds of the adult 21 plus population being either a cannabis consumer or somebody open to consuming cannabis. So really important to consider as you think about the growth of the marketplace.
If we look further at Canada, it’s really interesting to see the evolution already. So we are currently underway with our second round of research in the US and Canada right now. Results to be released in the next two weeks to our clients. You can see here already an evolution as well in Canada, similar to the US where you see the cannabis consumer population growing over time. Obviously, with federal legalization happening Q1 2019 is really when the markets opened in Canada and now in the most recent round of research, we’re definitely going to see this grow even bigger. So continuing to see acceptance and attitudes around cannabis change and evolve, importantly rejectors becoming acceptors or consumers and acceptors becoming consumers over time. So understanding this evolution is really important.
As we take a closer look to fully legal markets, so the most mature legal cannabis markets in the US. So this is just a look over the last four rounds of research that we’ve conducted. Taking a look specifically at California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington. I want to call specific attention to Colorado. It is an interesting story. But if you think about Colorado, in Q1 2017, 24% of the adults 21 plus were cannabis consumers. Now two years later, just two years, you see that number increase from 24% to 41%. So again, a big evolution in acceptance of cannabis as part of stigmas breakdown, product assortment and availability has increased, branding has become more mature. People are more open about talking about this. All of this is driving greater acceptance and therefore a greater market size as we think about the legal regulated marijuana market. So.
we take a look at that and we think about the size of the marketplace, BDS Analytics, we’re tracking what is selling, where, when and at what price point. We’re tracking obviously the evolution of the consumer marketplace. We also have a team of analysts and those analysts are looking at the marketplace today and predicting where it’s going to be constantly over the next five years. As you can see here, we currently predict a $41 billion market by 2024 globally.
The purple portion of this bar in the US, not surprising based on everything you’ve seen, the US is and will continue to be the world’s largest market five years. The green portion of this being Canada. Keep in mind, Canada is about the size of California. Then you have the rest of the world coming much more slowly into legalization across the marketplace. Further, so again, we are at 30 billion in the US in 2024. That’s the purple part of the line. This is the regulated marijuana market.
If we dive into this further and we think about legal cannabis no longer just being the regulated marijuana markets, but also including the hemp derived CBD marketplace. With the passing of the Farm Bill, obviously there’s been an explosion in that marketplace.
We have to think about legal cannabis is very different. So in the US specifically by 2024, we predict a $25 billion THC focused market being sold through licensed dispensaries. Then we have a portion of other cannabinoid products, so think about CBD dominant, CBD type products also based dispensary. Then we layer on top of that a prediction of what we anticipate the general market retail landscape to be for hemp derived CBD. So think of that as grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, convenience chains, vet, pet stores, specialty retail salons and spas, on premise for beverages. That becomes a $13 billion contribution to this market.
The last place is pharmaceuticals. So prescription medication like Epidiolex that is FDA approved and available. Again, coming to a total market of 45 billion by 2024. So the reason we wanted to walk through this first and just to track where we are today, what’s the size of the market, think about the growth of legal cannabis coming from the growth and the evolution of cannabis consumers and how they think, how they behave and how they accept these products into their lives.
So with that, we’re going to dive into quite a few different cannabis consumer myths. So whether these are preconceived notions or things people believe, we thought it might be fun to spend some time debunking these myths today. Again, I’m sure some of you might disagree with my myths. Some of you might have other myths you want us to debunk. As I mentioned earlier, feel free to tag us in social media posts and we’ll get to those. But we’re going to go through this hopefully pretty quickly. Again, feel free to ask questions along the way and I’ll get to those if we have time.
So let’s start with one that I like to talk a lot about. There is a preconceived notion or belief that female consumers are edible consumers exclusively. So what we want to do is take a quick look at female cannabis consumers and understanding the products they choose and why they consume what they consume.
So as we think about female cannabis consumers, 63% of female cannabis consumers have consumed inhalables in the past six months. If we dive deeper, almost 50% of female cannabis consumers actually prefer inhalable products. As you compare that to the kind of the other master categories, edibles and topicals, again, inhalables wins.
It is worth noting that males actually consume and prefer inhalables at a much greater degree. So male inhalable usage at 77%, in preference at 63%. So there definitely is a significant difference in the two numbers. But making the assumption just based on that that females don’t inhale is incorrect and we see a lot of that happening in the marketplace. Those of you in the industry probably understand this and don’t think of this as much of a myth, but those outside the industry, so those working with consumer packaged good, alcohol, tobacco companies, there’s this belief here that females are only consuming edible products.
Next myth. If any of you have been on previous webinars, you’ve probably heard me talk about boomers. Another myth out there is that boomers only consumed for aches and pains. If any of your boomers on the call, feel free to type in that this is not true.
But when we think about boomers as a consumer segment, they’re definitely important in growing across all markets within the US, Canada and globally. Many boomers have had previous experiences with cannabis in the past and a lot of them are just now coming back to explore the new legal landscape. So exploring new product forms, methods, higher potency, options that weren’t available to them when they were younger. Most consumed flower decades ago. So really coming back and understanding what this market is and the different applications and product forms available to them.
So with that, I’m a little bit going to go backwards on my debunking the myth. Boomers are more likely than any other consumer groups to be medically motivated. Thus they are less interested in inhaling. But the reasons why they consume really aren’t that different from the average consumer. They are significantly more likely to be medically motivated as I mentioned than other consumer segments. They’re also more likely to consume to replace prescription or OTC medication. They do consume because they have a desire to ease their aches and pains. But these really aren’t the only reason they consume. So as you can see here, again, 63% of boomers consumed for health and medical reasons.
Almost the same percent also consumed for social and recreational reasons. So again, 60% of them also consuming for social and recreational reasons because just like many other cannabis consumer segments, they want to let loose, they want to relax, they want to have fun, and this matters to them. It’s important to call out here, and I like to call this out, boomers are more likely than any other consumer segment or generational segments to mention that they consume specifically inhalables to have fun. So they want to relax, they want to unwind, they want to have a good time. So putting boomers into kind of a nice little neat box that they’re only consuming for aches and pains is a misstep and a missed opportunity if you’re in this market.
Next myth. Cannabis consumers equal stoners. There’s a lot of beliefs that people who are really into this industry, really into this market, understanding the products available to them, extraction technique, terpene content, cannabinoid profiles, genetic composition means that people are stoners. Stoners has been used as a bad word for some time. I think it’s coming back in a way that it’s probably not as negative as it used to be. But a few things to call out here.
Of cannabis consumers, majority of them are consuming for both health and medical and social and recreational usage. So cannabis connoisseur does not mean that they’re stoners, slacker lifestyle.
There’s a lot of cross consumption. Consumption that’s multifaceted and multipurpose, meaning consuming different forms based on the need state or occasion, whether that be to relax or have fun on a Friday night, to use it after or during an endurance workout, maybe having a headache and utilizing cannabis as part of that and really understanding the plant and the products and the benefits of the products. Think of that as a connoisseur, not the stereotypical stoner persona.
Further, as we think about who these people are, the college educated or even above college education, full time, part time employment, in Canada, we see these numbers even higher. 48% of Canadian connoisseurs have a college degree or plus, 66% employed. Also, income in both of US and Canada for this group, 40% of them have an income of over 60K. So definitely a different profile than what we would stereotypically call a stoner persona.
Further, as we think about these connoisseur, they do have a large preference for inhalables, concentrates, flower. We feel a lot of consumption across different inhalable formats. I think inhalables for some time and still to this day amongst some organizations and groups and beliefs, kind of ties back to that stoner stereotype. But those in the industry know that’s not true, but it’s important to call out, of connoisseurs, there’s definitely a higher preference for inhalables than we see amongst the average cannabis consumer population.
Also, we see a lot of different consumption dynamics. So reasons people consume and it’s specifically among these connoisseurs. Improving their quality of life, relieving pain, relaxing and being mellow, managing anxiety, top four reasons. Very clear here that you have health, wellness and social and recreational benefits all mattering to cannabis connoisseurs. As we think other factors, not surprising to THC content and price. Any of you out there who understand consumer research, it’s not surprising to see those two things pop. But taste and flavor matters to these people, and products that they’re familiar with, that they know they’ve had a good experience with and that they know have the high quality that they seek because again, these cannabis connoisseurs are looking for the best products available.
Next myth. As we think about the title of this webinar, kind of starting to get into that topic, but soccer moms don’t want to get high. There’s this belief that consumption among female moms is health and wellness driven. I am personally not a soccer mom, but I do have a three year old and I will tell you, I do have a master’s degree, a fulltime job. Clearly, I’m a data person. I consume cannabis and I consume cannabis to get high and it’s okay to say that.
So as we think about these soccer moms, almost 60% of these fifth consumer segment consumes for social and recreational reasons. As you can see here, that’s actually even higher in Canada.
As we break this down, 61% of soccer moms consumes for reasons that I would say are related to being high or stoned. So to relax and be mellow, to disengage or zone out, to have fun, to enhance their creativity, to feel peaceful. Further, and it kind of speaks back to that females only consume edibles, a myth that I spoke to earlier, 46% of soccer moms actually prefer inhalables products, 37% injectables and 16% topicals. So again, having any preconceived notions can very easily be debunked by just by looking at a couple of key data points.
Next. This one’s been debunked over and over again. We’ve talked about this for years now. But cannabis consumers are slackers, they’re stoners. We can really easily debunk this and I’m sure many of you can agree.
These people, cannabis consumers, we are employed, enjoy spending time outdoors, constantly keeping busy, go to the gym, workout, do yoga and Pilates, participate in outdoor activity. So it’s very different than what kind of people think as the cannabis consumer or the stoner persona that has existed in the media or in movies. But definitely an evolving portrayal of who cannabis consumers are.
Further, I pulled this in because we spend a lot of time talking to beverage alcohol companies and what kind of pairing look like and that interaction between cannabis and legal cannabis and alcohol, and everyone’s always really surprised to see that cannabis is more likely to be paired with exercising than it is with any beverage alcohol type. So obviously as you can see here, pairings with music, movies, entertainment and snacks still trump everything else. But exercise trumps spirits, cocktails, beer and wine. A lot of people are surprised by that because there’s this assumption, again, that cannabis is tied directly just with inebriation or social consumption. It’s very, very clearly proved out that that is not the case.
I also want to call out here some stigmas associated with it. As you think about mainstream US, so getting out of fully legal marketplaces and you think about the perceptions, and we’ve talked a lot about this over the years, but kind of like the wine mom perception, that it’s acceptable for when your kids go to bed finally for a mom to joke about drinking a whole bottle of wine, and generally socially acceptable. Cannabis is still in a world of kind of people feeling uneasy about that. So again, as we think about these stereotypes and these myths, we have to continue educating the market, educating the general population of what this really is and all of the different need states that come with consuming cannabis that gets beyond inebriation.
All right, next myth. For those of you who are in the industry, low dosing, microdosing products. So five milligram, two and a half milligram products in most cases kind of in the edible format prepackaged for consumers. There’s this belief amongst some that low dosers are new consumers.
When we break down the profile of who is a low-dose microdose consumer, pretty close to a 50-50 male female split. The interesting thing here is that recent adopters. So less than one-fifth of low-dose microdose consumers are actually recent consumers or newer consumers and that’s surprising to people.
Further, the younger generations are very active with low-dose microdose products, giving them a bit of a steady state, an experience that they can maintain a level that they’re looking for throughout the day, utilizing these lower or microdose products.
As we think about kind of recent adopters, just to give you an understanding of who these people are, when we talk about recent adopters, so newer consumers, we break these down again, 50-50 male, female. You can see a nice spread across the different generations. Also what they’re consuming. Again, a lot of preconceived notions and beliefs that newer consumers are only consuming ingestibles and as you can see here, a large consumption and preference for both inhalables and ingestibles.
So one thing that’s interesting to call out is why recent adopters enter, and this number is much higher for recent adopters than it is for the average cannabis consumer. The number I’m talking about is the 71% consuming for health or medical reasons. So you definitely do see, and I don’t want to use this word, but I’m going to use it anyway, a bit of a gateway where people are comfortable entering the market focused on first, health, wellness, medical benefits and then evolving over time in the usage across different forms and methods and across different need states, occasions as they get more and more comfortable with the different products available to them.
So with that, I told you this would be nice and quick, as we think about BDS Analytics and the consumer insights we have available, we’ve been conducting this research since the beginning of 2017. Most of our clients rely on our consumer insights to drive their businesses forward. There’s a lot of different products available to our clients and as I mentioned, our clients right now have free access. So if you are a client, log into GreenEdge after this webinar. But we’re covering a lot of different needs. So as I mentioned, total US stage of legalization down to individual state level insights, total Canada and by province. We have five additional global markets getting ready to launch. We have a full true consumer segmentation available in both the us and Canada. We have a very, very in depth look at CBD.
So thinking about those consumer. acceptor and rejector segments, I spoke to earlier, as you think about the expanded legal cannabis market, we have to consider not just marijuana but also hemp. So identifying unique consumer groups that might be marijuana rejectors but hemp CBD consumers, and understanding kind of what are all of these different segments, how do they behave and what’s the journey through acceptance of different products and product formats.
Then the last piece to call out is custom analytics. So there’s a lot that we can do for companies as they explore this space and want to understand more about the marketplace, more about different consumer segments and predicting where the market’s going next.
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