Almost one in four U.S. CBD consumers began using CBD in the pandemic months of 2021, equivalent to 9 million new users, while more than one in three longer-term CBD users (an estimated 13.4 million adults) sampled at least one new product type during this time, according to a national study of CBD users by Chicago-based cannabis market research firm High Yield Insights.
The October 2020 survey reflects the attitudes, usage habits and lifestyles of over 35,000 U.S. adults, including 4,200 current CBD users at the category level, as well as 4,000 former users, and 13,500 people who expressed an interest in learning more or trying CBD.
The findings explain why the CBD industry continues to thrive despite the broader economic challenges posed by the pandemic in attracting new consumers and with existing users expanding their product preferences:
- 50% of U.S. CBD consumers have tried at least one new product format in the last six months.
- 46% of longer-term CBD users purchased least one new type of CBD product in the last six months.
- 17% of longer-term CBD users added two or more product formats to their regimen since the pandemic began.
The survey also indicated CBD newcomers have a distinct profile. Recent adopters are more likely to be women, many of whom are retired. Almost two-thirds of retired CBD users joined the market in the six months prior to October 2020, and almost 60% of new consumers who started taking CBD since March 2020 have used gummies. Further, one in four “COVID commencers” who have only tried one or two product formats since entering the market the last half of 2020 have used gummies.
“Although traditional newcomers are more likely to enter the market with oils and topicals, new CBD users since March were most likely to turn to supplements like gummies to take the edge off their pandemic blues,” said Alexandra Curley, senior consultant at High Yield Insights.
However, newcomers to CBD do face challenges. Two-thirds of “COVID Commencers” indicate they are still trying to find a product that works best. As CBD companies hope to attract new users, price sensitivity might curb sales, as only 13% report any willingness to pay a premium for specialist CBD brands.
Finally, “COVID Commencers” demonstrate a need for continued education on the uses and benefits of CBD, as one in 10 cannot define the difference between CBD and THC, nor differentiate between hemp and marijuana.