The hustle and bustle of modern life often leaves consumers searching for new ways to relax and unwind after a hectic day. Similarly, an increasingly more environmentally conscious public is moving today’s zeitgeist towards plant-based and organic products.
At the intersection of these two motivations lies the cannabis-based drinks market. Cannabis market intelligence and strategic consultancy firm Prohibition Partners forecasts that this cannabis drinks sector could be worth up to $1.82 billion by the end of 2020 and $5.8 billion by 2024.
In a new report, “The Impact Series: Disrupting Drinks”, Prohibition Partners examines the consumer motivations that make these cannabis drinks products so attractive, and details further insights into the sector garnered from extensive consumer surveys and industry analysis.
‘Natural’ Cannabis Drinks
In a survey of over 3,600 adults who had purchased a CBD/hemp-infused drink within the past year, Prohibition Partners found that 47% of respondents most strongly associated these beverages with the word ‘natural’, with another 29% attributing the category to the characteristic of ‘healthy’.
With such strong associations already present in consumers’ minds, producers of cannabis and CBD/hemp-infused beverages must be careful not to alienate this base of health-oriented consumers. This would also suggest that cannabis-based drinks such as hemp teas or CBD-infused waters, which are already marketed within the health and wellness category, may resonate the most with consumers.
Following the trends seen in the wider non-cannabis sectors, products that are able to justify claims of being ‘organic’, ‘all-natural’, suitable for vegans, and contain low/no sugar would also do well in this category.
A further consumer survey question on consumer lifestyles corroborates this. Cannabis beverage consumers are much more likely to follow a vegan/vegetarian diet or be mindfully trying to reduce their meat and dairy intake. Additionally, more than a third of those who have purchased a CBD/hemp-infused drink also report that they are interested in plant-based products and medicines, compared to just 13% of non-purchasers.
Relaxing Through Turbulent Times
Stress and mental health are core drivers of cannabis-based beverage purchasing trends, with one in four consumers reporting that their life is stressful and/or hectic. With the current COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of another global economic downturn, cannabis and CBD/hemp-infused drinks producers may leverage these positive associations with relaxation and wellness for the testing weeks and months ahead.
Coronavirus-related spikes in anxiety and stress have been shown to be disproportionately affecting women and young people, as evidenced in a recent cortisol tracking study. Younger people are more likely to be feeling economic vulnerabilities as a result of the pandemic, the researchers said. Women are also almost three times more likely than men to be looking after children full-time on their own. CBD is known for its reported effects in quelling anxiety and promoting relaxation, and so these anxieties could also be a motivator for these groups to use CBD/hemp-infused drinks.
A Prohibition Partners’ analysis of the current cannabis-based drinks consumer base supports this idea of consumers seeking avenues of relaxation. Of the survey respondents who reported an interest in plant-based products and medicines, 57% were women. Amongst women who expressed an interest in buying cannabis-based drinks products, almost half are aged between 24-44 (versus 35% in the male demographic); given this age range, these women are likely to be living with career stresses, and possibly also starting or looking after a young family. This age range also directly correlates with the gender and age profile of those who described their lives as hectic and stressful during the survey. A key factor for cannabis-based beverage companies will be whether they can sell consumers on products aimed at restoring calm during these uncertain times.
For more information on cannabis-based drinks and consumer behavior, as well as on the key market players, innovations, and commercial opportunities, the full The Impact Series: Disrupting Drinks report is available for purchase and download here.
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