Report: Number of New CBD Consumers Rebounding Amid Pandemic

Brightfield Group’s latest CBD trends report shows new consumers may be a growing area of opportunity as they gradually begin re-entering the market.

November 19, 2020

Despite high levels of unemployment and extreme swings in consumer spending, people aren’t giving up cannabidiol (CBD) in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Brightfield Group’s November CBD channel and consumer trends report.

In fact, the number of new CBD users in the market was higher in Q3 2020 than it has been since it took a nosedive in Q4 2019, signaling an increasing number of people are turning to CBD to deal with pandemic stress. Consumers using CBD for three months or less made up 14% of the market in Q3 2020 (compared to 24% in Q3 2019 and 10% in Q4 2019), according to the report. Those using it for three to six months made up another 17%.

“People new to CBD, or the Newbies, are exciting consumers to watch out for. The reasons why they turn to CBD, where they heard about it, and other self-reported markers allow us to understand what is driving entry into the market,” states the Brightfield report. “With 31% of the market using CBD for less than half a year, there are opportunities to win loyalty, excite with new products and create lifelong CBD customers.”

Newbies are using tinctures more now than ever, the report found, with 56% of these consumers reporting using them in Q3. Tincture use among new users increased 70% from Q1 to Q3 2020. Meanwhile, gummies use has gradually declined since the beginning of the year among newbies, with only 23% reporting using them in Q3 2020. 

These new consumers have also become more knowledgeable, as those reporting they were unsure of their CBD dosage reached an all-time low in Q3 of 14%. Brightfield attributes this to the educational efforts undertaken by CBD companies on their packaging and websites.

Brightfield also found an influx of new users have children--61% of newbies reported having kids in Q3--as more parents seek relief from the added pressures of their kids attending online school from home amid the pandemic. These new users are also increasingly likely to be married. 

Q3 newbies are also more affluent than in previous quarters, with 30% of them reporting an income of above $150,000. Brightfield says this is likely because many Americans are unemployed or furloughed, leaving more affluent consumers as those with more disposable income.

“These trends are a strong leading indicator of what brands will need to be successful going into Q4 and 2021,” says the Brightfield report.

Other key takeaways from the report include:

  • Topical beauty and skincare CBD products have seen an 83% increase in use from Q1 to Q3.

  • Online CBD purchasing is holding strong, but some consumers are beginning to venture back into stores.

  • CBD specialty retailers and pharmacies are better-positioned to make a comeback before their mainstream brick-and-mortar counterparts, as they carry more products and offer more knowledgeable sales associates.

For the full report, visit Brightfield’s website.