Cannabidiol (CBD) continues to move into the mainstream with a broader range of consumers picking up products to meet a long list of varying needs.
In the first quarter of 2020, 9% of CBD consumers purchased products through a convenience store, up from 5% in 2019, according to consumer surveys conducted by CBD consumer insights company Brightfield Group. This opportunity will continue to grow as more consumers become comfortable with CBD, innovation in the industry continues at a fast pace and brands seek broader distribution through highly trafficked, mainstream channels such as convenience stores.
Who is the CBD Customer?
In order to capitalize on this growing trend, c-store operators and brands looking to sell through this channel should develop a strong understanding of who the CBD consumer is. Not surprisingly, CBD consumers purchasing through c-stores tend to skew slightly more male and younger than the average CBD consumer.
Of consumers who reported purchasing CBD at a c-store in Q1 2020, 52% are male, and over half (51%) are millennials. Most are heavy users, with 49% using CBD at least once per day — for relaxation, help with sleep and relief from physical ailments.
C-store shoppers are looking for reason- ably priced CBD products, with 59% spend- ing $30 or less per CBD product. They use a wide variety of CBD product types, most notably gummies, which are approachable, simple to use, and a great grab-and-go format for the convenience channel. Over half (54%) of CBD consumers who purchased through convenience stores had used gummies, compared to 43% of all CBD consumers.
C-store shoppers also over-index in the use of CBD vape cartridges (34% of c-store CBD consumers vs. 20% of total CBD consumers) and CBD drinks (25% of c-store CBD consumers vs. 15% of total CBD consumers).
CBD vapes are often used as a substitute for tobacco products or e-cigarettes and ﬁt well into the purchasing habits of shoppers used to purchasing these formats through the convenience channel.
CBD drinks are a small but growing part of the overall CBD market, and are popular with c-store shoppers. CBD-infused beverages can satisfy both the desire for a cold drink and the need for after-work stress relief and relaxation with one relatively low-cost purchase.
Tinctures (CBD oil) are a strong legacy player in the CBD industry, and 33% of consumers who have purchased CBD at a c-store have used tinctures.
An easy-to-use, full dropper applied under the tongue provides consumers with desired effects over a relatively short time period and with relatively precise dosing. While CBD tinctures can be relatively expensive, smaller 10-milliliter pack sizes can bring prices into a comfortable range for the c-store shopper.
Pricing & Effectiveness
As with most CBD consumers, price and producing desired effects are the top product attributes that c-store shoppers are looking for when making a CBD purchase. Many brands offer trial-size or single-serve packages that are well-suited to achieve the $5 to $30 price range that most c-store shoppers favor.
In terms of desired effects, these CBD consumers are looking for relaxation on the way home from work or something that will help them wind down and sleep better later that evening. Offering consumer education through in-store collateral and displays can help communicate the correct dosage and usage for consumers to fully appreciate the effects of CBD and feel satisﬁed with their purchases.
By satisfying the consumer on both price and product effect, convenience stores can help these consumers make CBD a regular part of their daily routine and c-store purchases.
Kay Tamillow, research director for Brightﬁeld Group, leads Brightﬁeld Group’s research team, providing in-depth analysis on the CBD and cannabis markets spanning across consumer research, new product developments, market sizes and brand shares.