Cannabis Purchasing Behavior: 15 Key Sets of Statistics

cannabis purchasing behavior

The benefits of cannabis market research are in no way an industry secret. Much like in any industry, investing in market research can improve your profits, guide you through the process of making tough, important strategic decisions, and help refine your targeting and branding.

Recently, we’ve published on the importance of cannabis consumer demographic research, how cannabis customer satisfaction surveys can increase your revenue, and how professional cannabis consumer insights can help guide strategic decisions.

Check them out if you need clarification.

Otherwise, enjoy these interesting facts, tidbits, and insights we’ve gleaned over the years about cannabis purchasing behavior from our CANNApinion and GreenTime Polls.

Some Interesting Stats

●Cannabis consumers don’t simply purchase it for personal consumption. Evidently, some users either give gifts of cannabis or are interested in it. Overwhelmingly (69%), those that said they’d give it as a gift indicated they’d offer edibles. The top three categories which users said they’d give as gifts were gummies, brownies, and chocolate.

●On gift-giving: 39% of users polled in one study said they’d intended to consume cannabis products with a romantic partner on Valentine’s day. With almost half the market interested, promotional, seasonal, or themed products might be a lucrative strategic move.

●Move over, 4/20: In one poll, 100% of respondents said they also consumed cannabis as a celebration in observation of 4/20. However, it was not the only holiday that respondents said they celebrated in such a manner. A large number – 40% of respondents also indicated that they celebrated Thanksgiving by consuming cannabis as well.

●If you’re considering a celebrity endorsement, be aware of the discrepancy in cannabis purchasing habits that fall along gender lines. For whatever reason, women don’t seem to be interested in celebrity endorsement of cannabis products. 69% of females polled said that celebrity endorsements were not important to them, as compared to the 41% of males that said they were. Apparently, male and female users are not in agreement on the utility of celebrity endorsement.

●Do you offer a delivery service? Perhaps you should be – 30% of those that had not used a delivery service said that the only reason was due to unavailability in their area. Just make sure you mark it – 59% of people interested in cannabis delivery services said they’d like the driver to be driving a branded vehicle. Also: 52% said delivery time and 58% suggested that price would be an important factor in determining whether or not to patronize delivery services. Here’s another gem: apparently 35% of respondents already routinely use a delivery service. There may be an opportunity for repeat business in your area.

●Beyond the dispensary: 81% of respondents to one poll indicated an interest in visiting a cannnabis bar or lounge. That opens up all sorts of opportunities for cannabis entrepreneurs to offer a full-service experience, which may potentially revolutionize the way people consume cannabis in company.

●Know your stuff: Apparently, the experience matters as much as the products themselves. 63% of consumers suggested that dispensary budtenders that were experienced or knowledgeable were important to them. Training and professional development for your staff might be a good thing. Selection is important, too, though. 64% of respondents said as much, and 68% said they had a favorite dispensary.

●Give back: 71% of respondents indicated that a loyalty or rewards program was important to them.

●The merging of recreational and medical cannabis retail: Evidently, 69% of those that have consumed cannabis via an oral method have done so for pain relief. There’s some crossover in consumer behavior, though. 63% use it for stress relief and 62% for controlling anxiety.

●Topical methods of administration have seen a big bump since the COVID-19 pandemic began. A 44% increase, to be precise. 45% of respondents to one poll also indicated that they had used a topical method of administration – either a cream, balm, salve, or lotion.

●You’ve heard a lot about edibles and other non-typical routes of consumption, but there’s still plenty of room for growth in traditional avenues. 56% of respondents from states where cannabis is legal reported that they’d consumed cannabis through vaporizing. A separate cohort of 53% of respondents reported that they’d vaporized cannabis after work to help control stress. Overall, 51% of respondents said they’d vaporized cannabis in the past year.

●Drink up: 48% of respondents to one poll indicated that they’d had a cannabis-infused beverage in the past month. Respondents overwhelmingly (84%) reported that they’d expect the drink to taste better if made by a producer that was familiar with the cannabis industry, so be aware of that with any co-branding efforts you intend to undertake. Interest in cannabis-infused beverages was also highly varied, with strong showings for soda, juice, fruit punch, tea, and coffee. (Interest varied by age group, but even Baby Boomers showed significant interest in cannabis-infused soda – 50%!) All groups exhibited interest in trying new flavors of cannabis-infused beverages, with the highest interest coming from millennials at 83%.

●It should come as little surprise that edibles remain very popular. 76% of respondents to one poll indicated that they had consumed edibles within the past 12 months.

●Among edible categories, entrees and fast foods solicited the least interest. Millennials, baby boomers, and members of Generations X and Z were polled, and the only category that generated more than 10% of interest was among Gen Z, for entrees. Your funds might be better spent pursuing edibles like chocolates, gummies, and candies.

cannabis purchasing behavior

●Don’t skimp on positioning: Apparently, almost half of consumers would be interested in luxury-positioned cannabis products. 45% considered high-end or luxury positioning to be an important factor in decision-making.

Invest in Market Research for Insights into Cannabis Purchasing Behavior and Interest
As the legal cannabis market expands and the greater market for cannabis continues to grow, the value of targeted studies to better understand cannabis purchasing behavior will become all the more central to success.

Whether your organization is concerned with medical or recreational cannabis sales, data technology and targeted polling continue to shape the industry. Those that know better, perform better, and cannabis consumer research can help you make critical strategic decisions about fund and resource allocation, targeting, and more with confidence.

Take a look at our CANNApinion and GreenTime Polls for more information and get in touch with us at to speak with a representative about how we can help your business thrive in this industry.

Cannabis Market Analysis and Strategic Decision Making

Cannabis market analysis

Market analysis is not unique to the cannabis industry. Providers of both nondurable and durable consumer goods benefit greatly from market analysis, everywhere around the world, year in and year out.

Cannabis market analysis, like market research in general, can benefit your business in a variety of ways, some of which can’t be predicted without the insight gathered from the analysis.

That said, here are some of the top ways that market research can provide insight for your business, how your business can benefit, and some key figures we’ve gathered from CANNApinion and the GreenTime Polls over the last few years.

How Cannabis Market Analysis Can Benefit Your Business
Cannabis market analysis can offer so many potential benefits that it’s hard to succinctly categorize them, but here are some chief benefits of investing in market research.

It can help you identify new customers through targeting. Cannabis market analysis can offer insight into segments of the market that are interested in cannabis products but may not be using them or aware of them.

It can help you learn more about your existing customers and maximizing customer lifetime value and loyalty. Ongoing targeting and segmentation based on demographic and geographic factors can influence your product positioning and refine your marketing.

Market research can identify key consumer purchasing behavior or uncover interest in products or categories in which you don’t currently invest or which you don’t offer.

Cannabis market analysis can potentially help you refine your product catalog by doubling down on top sellers while shifting resources away from low performing categories with little interest.

It can also help you gauge the potential behind new businesses decisions, such as the prospect of opening up a new dispensary in a removed location in the United States, launching new product lines, or rolling out new services, such as delivery services. It can also help you determine where the fastest growth is within key market segments.

Cannabis market analysis

Cannabis market analysis can help you refine your branding. For instance, if you believe your brand positioning is aligned with the expectations of single males in your area, of a certain age and income bracket, but you determine that most of your purchases come from elsewhere – well, that is self explanatory.

Market research can also help you keep tabs on the pulse of key players in the competitive landscape, by determining where, if ever, customers are getting their cannabis products or accessories.

Additionally, market research is a cost-effective way to test the waters before making important strategic decisions. It’s helpful to know as much as you can about new products, product lines, services and offerings and how customers might receive them – before you put money into them.

Cannabis Purchasing Behavior Trends to Keep Your Eye On
To the credit of all of the potential benefits for cannabis market research we have offered so far in here, the following are some specific insights we’ve gathered over the past few years through our CANNApinion and GreenTime Polls:

●35% of respondents currently use cannabis delivery services. 30% who had not used one only did not because it was not available in their area.

●Rapid market growth rates associated with cannabis use for recreational purposes are not only promising for dispensary owners. 81%(!) of respondents indicated that they would like to patronize a cannabis bar.

●Cannabis use is not just a personal thing. Many users reported that they would give cannabis products as gifts, with 69% indicating they would prefer to give edibles.

●Staff matters. 63% of respondents indicated that knowledgeable budtenders were a key factor in the experience offered at a dispensary. Also – 68% stated that they had a preferred dispensary, so users can be loyal.

●Does your dispensary currently offer a rewards program? Perhaps it should be: 71% of respondents stated that loyalty and rewards programs were an important factor in choosing a dispensary.

●Lots of your customers probably use cannabis products to relax, right? It’s probably not all of them – 45% of respondents reported use of cannabis for energy or to help stay awake – that’s nearly half.

●Cannabis use is not necessarily income bound: From one poll, 41% of respondents worked in C-level positions.

●Delivery routes are expanding in unexpected ways. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, users reported a 44% increase in topical cannabis products, and 76% of respondents to another poll stated that they had consumed a cannabis-infused beverage within the last 12 months.

Get the Most from Cannabis Market Analysis
Whether or not the figures above apply to your specific niche is not at the heart of the issue: they could be. The only way to glean specific market reports is by investing in purpose-driven cannabis market analysis.

Take a look at our CANNApinion Poll and the GreenTime Poll to learn more about how we administer them and then get in touch with us at 818-989-1044 or at to invest in market research to furnish your organization with the cannabis consumer insights it needs to thrive.

Cannabis Market Research and Cannabis-Infused Beverage: A Lucrative Opportunity for Investors?

Cannabis Market Research

Our CANNApinion Poll is a bi-monthly survey that reaches over 1,000 cannabis consumers in the United States. In it, we plumb the market for consumer preferences, buying trends, and much more.

It is one of the most comprehensive resources of its kind and accounts for demographic, geographic economic, educational, social, and many other factors to deliver clear snapshots of real consumer preferences and behavior.

Among the many topics we cover periodically, several are related to potential market interest in cannabis-infused beverages.

While it’s hardly a secret that edibles are growing in popularity, some researchers and producers might have overlooked the potential of creating cannabis-infused drinks.

Here are some of our findings from several CANNApinion polls.

Quick Stats on Cannabis-Infused Beverage
Cannabis-infused beverages were a hot topic in some of our recent CANNApinion polls, and the findings may surprise you.

For one thing, over half of respondents to our July 2020 CANNApinion poll reported that they’d be more likely to purchase cannabis drinks that contained both CBD and THC.

This is interesting, as CBD does not cause the same psychoactive effects as THC, although some believe it to carry several benefits of its own, such as improving the quality of sleep and helping to cope with chronic pain or anxiety.

That is only one takeaway. Consumer interest in cannabis drinks exhibited a wide variety. Although in previous CANNApinion polls respondents overwhelmingly remarked on a preference for sweet edibles, interest in drinks is arguably more diverse.

For instance, 58% of Gen Z respondents, 89% of millennials, 68% of Gen X, and 48% of Baby Boomers reported interest not only in cannabis-infused beverages generally but specifically in sparkling water drinks.

This is in line with another statistic: 73% of Gen Z, 83% of millennials, 72% of Gen X, and 38% of Baby Boomers expressly said they’d be specifically open to trying new flavors in cannabis drinks.

Along those lines, all categories of respondents showed significant interest in the following types of cannabis drinks:



●Hot chocolate



●Juice or punch

●Non-alcoholic wine

Millennials and Gen Z showed the greatest interest overall in cannabis-infused drinks, while Baby Boomers showed the least. As many as 95% of Gen Z respondents expressed interest in cannabis-infused juice or punch, for example.

From a subsequent poll (April 2021) 52% of respondents (more than half) that had consumed cannabis-infused drinks were between the ages of 25 and 44.

Interestingly, it’s worth noting for targeting and segmentation purposes that the vast majority of respondents interested in cannabis drinks were males. About 50% of those polled had tried them in the past – but among that 50%, 63% were males.

Here’s something else to take to heart for branding purposes. Even though consumers are willing to get adventurous with flavors, they’re not as willing to trust new manufacturers.

To be specific, a whopping 84% stated that they’d prefer to buy a cannabis-infused drink from a brand they already know. This part is even more telling: 76% of those said they’d prefer to buy the drink if it was associated with a drink brand that they already knew, instead of from a cannabis company. This might mean that co-branding opportunities are the most effective way to move forward.

Cannabis Market Research

Is Investing in Cannabis Market Research Valuable for Your Organization?
For players in the cannabis industry, investing in cannabis market research can be a highly valuable tool to plan for strategic decision making, positioning, targeting, branding, and growth overall.

Just as in any industry, investing in qualified cannabis market research can bring a number of unique benefits to an organization, including but not limited to:

●Gauging interest in cannabis products, both with respect to the potential launch of new products and changing preferences in existing marijuana products.

●Mitigating risk when determining which financial allocations to make during a given period of time.

●Settling on branding and positioning before packaging for new products needs to be designed and rolled out.

●Ascertaining size and interest of the market size in a given geographic landscape.

●Determining the competitive landscape, especially in areas with legalized cannabis use, either medical or recreational.

●Identifying key market segments.

●Quantifying projected or reported cannabis retail sales volumes.

●Assisting with forecast periods and making predictions about consumer interest.

●And a wide range of other benefits.

Contact Us to Learn More About Our CANNApinion Poll!
Whether you have already established a marijuana company or are only considering the potential value of the venture, investing in qualified cannabis market research can help you answer all of the above questions and many more.

Please consult the link above to learn more about our CANNApinion Poll and our other cannabis research services and reach out to us directly for more information if you’re interested. You can contact us at 818-989-1044 or by email at

8 Reasons to Hire a Cannabis Market Research Company | Colorado

cannabis market research company in Colorado

Why hire a cannabis market research company in Colorado? Keep reading and be informed.

Whether you’re in Colorado or not, it is critical to understand who your consumers are, what motivates their purchases, and how to connect with them in order to run a successful business.

Market research may help you gain accurate and specific information about your consumers and competition, which is a key component of launching or expanding your cannabis business. Cannabis consumers’ demands influence and control all parts of your company’s operations, and they might determine your company’s success or failure.

So if you want to enter the cannabis market or grow your business, there are two things you can do. You can either do the market research yourself or outsource it to professionals. Outsourcing is always the better choice. Here are the reasons why:

Hiring a market research firm will provide your company access to skills and experience that you might not have in-house.

The expertise could be in the form of a trained moderator leading focus group discussions. It could also come through a unique methodology or analysis tool. Most importantly, it could be in the form of industry knowledge. So employing a cannabis market research firm will give you access to their expert knowledge of the cannabis sector.

Experts rely largely on domain-specific information to perform better, and this knowledge allows them to better anticipate and prepare for future activities, so you can be sure that they will use their years of experience to complete a project correctly from start to finish.

2.Direct & Actionable Interpretation of Data
In a market research project, the data analysis stage is where qualitative, quantitative, or a combination of both data is brought together and scrutinized in order to form conclusions. Raw data is not the sole determinant of reliable research conclusions. A strong component of the latter is the analysis and interpretation of the data.

A good research company will have the ability to analyze complex data to form actionable insights that you can use to start or move your cannabis business forward.

They should be able to provide a more direct and actionable interpretation of the data, which means that instead of telling you that 75% of the sample are satisfied with your cannabis products, they should tell you that the satisfied 75% of the sample have tried a specific product you have.

3.Save Time & Resources
Hiring a market research firm will save your company time and money. Quality market research can be time-consuming and difficult. Most businesses lack the personnel or skills to accomplish this work thoroughly, and costly mistakes may be made as a result.

Market research professionals will save you numerous hours and ensure that the job is completed accurately and on time.

A survey project, for example, could take an internal team 8 to 12 weeks to complete, whereas professional market researchers could finish it in half the time.

Having a research partner also frees up your team to concentrate on their daily work and priorities. They won’t have to learn how to create, program, and analyze data, which can be a daunting task.

Overall, they can act as an extension of your internal team, allowing you to complete analysis, insights, and suggestions more quickly than you could if you did it yourself or in-house.

4.Accurate & Reliable Method of Sampling
Companies that are doing their market research typically rely on their customer database as their sample. This saves them time and provides them more convenience but the sample is hardly representative of the entire Colorado cannabis market.

cannabis market research company in Colorado

Convenience sampling is a method of sampling where the sample is drawn from the part of the population that is near or readily available. It’s good for basic research but not if you want to get a larger and more representative sample.

If you hire a cannabis market research company in Colorado, you can be sure that the sample they will draw will not be limited to your customers and that the best possible results are achieved.

5.Appropriate Method of Data Collection
Expert market researchers will know what methodology to use to get the answers to the most important business questions you want to be answered.

Whether they’ll use interviews, questionnaires, direct observation, focus groups, and others, they can give you the answers you need to make decisions.

Most of all, they know the best language to ask your questions. Remember that a single word in a survey question, for example, has the potential to distort the data and affect the results significantly.

Impartiality is important in any research, including cannabis. To minimize the risk of bias, you can hire a market research company with expert researchers who can remain impartial.

The accuracy of your results depends on the impartiality of your researchers. So look for a company that offers the result as a fact, conclusion, or recommendation.

Another advantage of hiring a market research company is that your results will be seen as more credible by your target market.

Also, if for whatever reason you decide to publicize some information you gained from the research, your claim will not be seen as self-serving or biased. You can make it clear that the research was conducted by a market research company.

8.Impactful Marketing Insights
Market research is important in marketing. When done correctly, it can help you create marketing campaigns that highlight the needs of your customers along with the key message that they can connect with.

You can easily achieve this if you have a partner research company that can give you data-driven insights you can use in all of your marketing efforts.

Ready to Hire a Cannabis Market Research Company in Colorado?
Start your cannabis market research with us here at ISA Group. We specialize in cannabis research and our years of experience in the industry can help you strategically position your cannabis business for success. Start or improve your business today and begin creating marketing initiatives that not only will build your cannabis business but also put you ahead of the competition. Contact us and let’s make it happen!

New York Cannabis Market Sizing Tips and Strategies

Because legal cannabis has the potential to attract higher cannabis sales, New York legalizing recreational cannabis was one of the biggest cannabis news pieces in 2021.

So, if you’re a cannabis company looking to expand in the state of New York and wondering how you can conduct New York cannabis market sizing research to infiltrate the market, this article is for you.

By the end of reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of how you can do your research and determine the size of the cannabis market in New York.

What are market size and market sizing?
Market size refers to the number of units of a product or service sold in a given period or the number of customers expected to buy or avail of the product or service.

Market sizing or estimation of the number of consumers of marijuana in New York aims to calculate that number and uses questions like:

●What is the legalized cannabis market size in New York?

●How many people in New York purchase medical cannabis each year?

There are two approaches you can use to estimate the number of your future cannabis customers in New York. These are the Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches.

How to estimate the size of your Cannabis market
Estimating the market using a top-down approach means obtaining an overall size of a market, then applying filters to break it down to a more close estimate of your specific market.

In other words, from the total number of New York residents to the total number of cannabis consumers in New York.

The bottom-up approach, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It starts with the smallest number of customers, or units, then builds those numbers up to get a clearer picture of the market size.

Top-Down Approach
The framework for the top-down approach would look like this:
●New York population
●The estimated percentage of the population who consumes cannabis
●The estimated percentage of the population who consumes medical marijuana and recreational marijuana
●The estimated amount of cannabis consumption in a year
●The estimated cost of the cannabis product

Multiply all the figures to determine the market size.

Bottom-Up Approach
In a bottom-up approach, you start with:
●The individual user
●The amount of cannabis product consumed in a year
●The estimated cost of the cannabis product
●The annual cannabis spend of an individual
●The number of individuals that regularly purchase cannabis

Multiply all the figures to determine the market size.

Both approaches can lead to a reasonably realistic answer.

A top-down approach to market sizing may be easier in some cases. A bottom-up technique may also be easier for some cannabis sectors. You’ll have to choose which method and framework to utilize and go with the one that’s most straightforward for you.

Market Sizing Tips

●Before making any market sizing calculations, decide on the approach first. Whether you use a top-down or bottom-up market sizing model, be sure to define it according to the geographical scope you want to cover, which is New York in this case.

●To get more specific figures, segment your population by their demographic characteristics. Age is the most common way to divide a group. You can split your population into age groups or generations such as Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y or Millennials

Segmentation is based on the premise that each section has distinct cannabis purchasing behaviors or motivations.

●To make math easier, use round numbers. Use 19.5 million instead of 19,415,392, the estimated New York State 2022 population.

●Use a separate sheet of paper for calculations. Your method or framework should be on one page of paper, and your computations should be on another. This ensures that you’ll be able to refer back to your framework at any time. This also helps to keep your computations tidy.

Opening a Cannabis Business in New York

Here are other important details that you’ll want to know if you’re going to launch a cannabis business in the state.

●The bill to legalize recreational cannabis, which was signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, allows for adults 21 and older to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrated cannabis, such as oils derived from a cannabis plant.

●Those who have been convicted of marijuana-related offenses will have their records expunged as well.

●People will be allowed to keep up to five pounds of cannabis at home, but they must keep it in a secure location.

●Possessing more than the allowed amount of cannabis or selling it without a license carries penalties ranging from a minor infraction to a crime.

●To secure a business license to sell cannabis in New York, visit the Office of Cannabis Management.

Business licenses for adult-use cannabis include Adult-use Cultivator, Adult-use Nursery, Adult-use Processor, Adult-use Distributor, Adult-use Cooperative, Adult-use Microbusiness, Adult-use Retail Dispensary, Adult-use On-site Consumption, Adult-use Delivery, Registered Organization Adult-use Cultivator Processor Distributor Retail Dispensary, and Registered Organization Adult-use Cultivator Processor Distributor.

●The number of recreational cannabis business licenses to be issued in New York has yet to be determined.

However, the goal is for 50% of licenses to go to social and economic justice applicants, minority- and women-owned businesses, handicapped veterans, and distressed farmers.

Loans and grants are also available for these groups.

●The cost of a business license is yet to be determined but it is likely to be non-refundable. The fee will also depend on the kind of license you’re applying for, your product volume, and other factors.

●The retail sales of recreational cannabis in New York are expected to begin this 2022.

Need help with your New York Cannabis market sizing project?
If you’re ready to open new retail locations in New York and you need help with market sizing research, we’re here to help.

We are a full-service market research company and we aim to deliver the right insights to help brands make better decisions.

Interviewing Service of America is one of the most trusted names in market research. With over 40 years of experience providing a reliable source of business information and data for companies worldwide, we can help you understand the cannabis competitive landscape and target your prospects more effectively.

Get in touch with us today for New York cannabis market sizing research and all your cannabis marketing research needs.

2021 Year in Review: The Highs and Lows of Brand Building in the New Era of Cannabis

The new era of cannabis will be driven by data.

This statement is not just a catchy tagline. It also describes the natural progression of a dynamic, diverse industry with unlimited growth potential.

In recent history, we’ve witnessed dramatic shifts in consumer behavior. The disruptions caused by Covid, the evolution of cannabis from illegal to “essential”, and the dismantling of stigmas have all contributed to a transformation of consumers’ relationships with cannabis. As a consumer insights firm, we’ve had the privilege of observing and measuring these monumental changes. Why not take a moment to pause and reflect on the experiences of 2021? This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything that happened in cannabis in 2021, but rather, just a few highlights related to marketing, branding, canna-business and of course, consumer data and insights.

To read our recap of 2020, check out this Ganjapreneur articleWhat we learned about cannabis consumers during the weirdest year ever.

State markets to watch in 2022

First up, the legal landscape looked a lot different in 2021. In 2020, we saw perceptions of cannabis shift dramatically when dispensaries were deemed essential businesses. In 2021, the momentum continued. A whopping 5 new states came online for adult use in 2021. The most exciting markets we’re watching closely in 2022 include New York, which some say could become the largest U.S. state market. Colorado continues to break sales records and is home to dozens of innovative brands. Of course, we can’t overlook our home state of California, which is developing a robust tourist destination with spas, cannabis agricultural tours and cannabis-friendly lodging.

Related articles

The Benefits of Hiring a Partner to Gather Cannabis Consumer Data in Colorado

If you’re reading this, you probably already operate a cannabis business in Colorado or you are considering investing in one.

Can a Cannabis Market Research Company in California Guide Strategy?

The national cannabis market is on the upswing, and in recent years several states have passed legislation…

Bud and Booze Sign a Truce

After months of marketing campaigns deriding the effects of alcohol and promoting cannabis as a healthy alternative, Hollywood’s favorite beverage brand, Cann, ended their unofficial war on booze by launching a series of partnerships with alcohol brands. The topic of hangovers was notably absent in Cann’s 2021 holiday ad, featuring Kate Hudson and Kate Hudson’s vodka brand King St.

Why the sudden change?

ISA’s study of beverage consumers from 2021 revealed that consumers are not necessarily looking for an alcohol replacement, and 40% of cannabis beverage consumers say that when they drink cannabis, they’re also drinking alcohol. If you’re a cannabis beverage brand, it makes sense to pivot away from a marketing strategy that could potentially alienate 40% of the market.

Anti-alcohol rhetoric is so 2020.

Celebrities Crowd into the Cannabis
Market - Consumers yawn

Speaking of celebrities…

Seth Rogan, Justin Bieber, Pitbull, DJ Khaled, Lil Kim, Ice Cube, Melissa Etheridge, Drake, Bella Thorne – this is only a partial list of the celebrities who announced their foray into cannabis in 2021. It’s obvious that some partnerships between brands and celebs are a natural fit, and the wave of celebrity entrants is a good indicator of growing cultural acceptance. For most consumers, however, it’s just adding to the clutter. This Twitter user is over it.

How many consumers share this guy’s opinion? A lot. Last year we partnered with mg Magazine to understand the luxury cannabis market and how consumers define luxury for cannabis products. We asked 1,000 cannabis consumers to rate how important a celebrity endorsement is for them when evaluating products. The majority (56%) said it’s of little importance or not important at all.

Marketing professionals have limited options when it comes to promoting cannabis online. Facebook and Instagram are famous for shutting down accounts, often without so much as an explanation. LinkedIn is cannabis-friendly, but the business-forward platform can be a turn off for those who appreciate the subversive, counter-culture characteristics of the industry.

Enter Clubhouse. In 2021, the censorship-free audio-based networking app exploded in popularity and cannabis entrepreneurs found a safe space to promote their products, discuss business, and network.

Learn More about Clubhouse and Cannabis

Cannabis in the Metaverse (Cannaverse?)

In December of 2021, Higher Life CBD grabbed headlines with a promotion that allowed customers to browse and buy cannabis products in the metaverse and then have it delivered to their real-world homes.

Some say it will take years or even decades for the metaverse to reach a point of critical mass, where it really takes off and regular people start to spend their free time shopping, socializing, and gaming on the new platform. However, cannabis people are not regular people. The words pioneer, subculture, experimental and “not risk averse” come to mind. It stands to reason that the same group that was first in line to seize opportunities in cannabis will also be early entrants in the digital “Wild, Wild West.” The cannabis business leaders who survived and thrived through Prohibition, constantly shifting regulations, natural disasters, supply chain issues and a global pandemic are battle-tested, and well poised to gamble on a new platform and win. Also, they know how to throw a party, so there’s that.

The Birth of Weed Week

Speaking of industry gatherings, 2021 also brought us the return of live, in-person cannabis networking events. After canceling their live event in 2020 (along with the rest of the world) MJBiz Con triumphantly returned to the Las Vegas strip in 2021 for their 10th annual show. This time there was something different. A new event called MJ Unpacked opened up down the street and kicked off the same day that MJBiz Con wrapped up. MJ Unpacked caters exclusively to brands and retailers. Ancillary businesses are not allowed. Is the fragmenting of events a cause for alarm or a natural progression? Some say the addition of MJ Unpacked means we can now look forward to a yearly mega event in Las Vegas – unofficially dubbed Weed Week. See what industry insiders are saying about Weed Week.

Insights Take Center Stage

In the early stages of development as an industry, consumer preferences were often over-looked in the rush to bring products to market. There was a sense that any product would sell, and any product could make it onto retail shelves. Fast forward to 2022 – brands are more deliberate with their planning and attentive to their brand and what it represents. Specific, core audiences and usage occasions are no longer an afterthought in product development and marketing strategies.

In 2021, we saw more leaders embrace the need for insights and level-up their investment in research.

Related article:

There’s still a long way to go before cannabis catches up with major national brands, in terms of analyzing their customers’ behavior to uncover market opportunities. With federal legalization on the horizon, and further consolidation, it’s quickly becoming too risky to ignore fundamental questions related to brand health.

In 2022, more organizations will need to answer questions such as…

  • What are our customers experiencing when they use our products/ visit our locations?
  • How loyal are our current customers?
  • Why have our lapsed customers moved on?
  • How does our product address consumers’ underlying emotional needs?
  • Are we optimizing the use of our customer data?
  • Which product types or new state markets represent the greatest opportunities with minimal risk?
  • How do we stay in front of trends?
  • How can we create a customer feedback loop that informs new product development and/or helps us improve our current offering?

If any of these questions are on your to-do list for 2022, get in touch.