Analytics firm IRI has released findings of a new study on the attitudes and usage motivations of legal adult cannabis users. The study also delves into the projected impact of further legalization on consumer product purchase habits.
“The expanding legalization of cannabis products is already a disruptive force in the CPG industry,” says Robert I. Tomei, president of market and shopper intelligence for IRI. “IRI’s consumer and shopper insights into the impact of cannabis on purchase motivations and behaviors provide critical opportunities for brands to understand the substitution effects and innovation opportunities created by this category-defying ingredient.”
The study, conducted in collaboration with MFour, a leader in mobile market research, surveyed recent purchasers of cannabis products to drive purchase-based insights, as well as a broader general population panel representing all markets to understand projected impacts of legal marijuana and CBD. Key findings of the study included:
- Cannabis consumers defy stereotypes. Recent purchasers of cannabis in markets where adult use is legal span generations, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Beyond demographics, consumers also seek a diverse array of benefits from their purchase.
- Motivations vary by product type. Legal marijuana purchasers reported that relaxation was their primary motivation for using cannabis, while CBD purchasers were more likely to cite medical symptom treatment as a motivator.
- Cannabis products replace consumers’ purchases of OTC medication. Over 45% of legal marijuana and CBD consumers reported that dispensary purchases in legal markets replace their purchases of over-the-counter medication.
- Legalization creates opportunities—especially in snacking. Study participants in legal and non-legal markets expect that they are most likely to increase their purchases of baked goods, candy, salty snacks and gum as a result of the legalization of cannabis products.
“Findings like these illuminate the risks and opportunities created by the introduction of cannabis products to more consumers,” says Carl Edstrom, SVP and principal of survey solutions for IRI. “While over-the-counter medication brands risk losing market share as a result of broader usage, there are opportunities for brands to leverage the broad appeal of the legal cannabis attribute and incorporate cannabis ingredients into new OTC medication, and certain food products to capture greater value.”