2018: The dawn of cannabis wellness.
2018 was a monumental year for the cannabis industry. California, the largest cannabis market in the country, officially transitioned from medical to adult use, and new consumer markets emerged across the U.S.
Throughout the transition, Eaze has kept a finger on the pulse of industry trends as well as consumer purchasing and wellness habits, which we’ve outlined here in our fourth annual State of Cannabis data report.
Baby Boomers and women continue to demonstrate remarkable market share growth and consumers are increasingly turning to cannabis as a wellness tool, with CBD the breakout star of the year.
This latest report in the Eaze Insights series reveals the cannabis customer base is growing and diversifying, demonstrating a rise in popularity across all adult groups, regardless of gender or age. Consumers are also turning to cannabis to curb unhealthy habits. A majority reduced their alcohol consumption, with Millennials showing the most significant decrease, while many reduced or eliminated their need for over-the-counter and prescription pain medication.
Here are some of the key findings from the report, based on the anonymized consumer behavior data from Eaze’s database of 450,000 cannabis consumers as well as attitudes and usage data based on nearly 4,000 survey respondents:
- The cannabis customer base is diversifying across age groups: First-time cannabis consumers grew by 140% thanks to adult use legalization. Baby Boomers were one of the fastest growing segments, increasing by 25% over the past year.
- Year of the female cannabis consumer: With female consumers nearly doubling, the growth of women entering the market outpaced men and continued the trend of increasing female participation, with women now 38% of cannabis consumers.
- CBD is driving a new demographic of cannabis users: CBD consumers nearly doubled in 2018, growing from 2.6% in 2017 to 4.8% in 2018. Baby Boomers are the most common CBD enthusiasts of all age groups (8.4% in 2018), and female Boomers are the most likely CBD users.
- Cannabis products are used for a variety of wellness applications: Overall, 71% of surveyed consumers reduced (53%) or stopped (18%) their over-the-counter (OTC) pain treatment, and 60% of surveyed consumers have reduced (52%) or stopped (7%) their alcohol consumption.
EAZE INSIGHT: The cannabis consumer is diversifying.
California’s cannabis industry took a wild ride in 2018. Shifting regulations, a persistent illegal market, and supply constraints due to new testing standards created an ever-changing environment. Despite these challenges, the legal market grew in significant ways, thanks to a huge uptick in new consumers and higher individual spending.
New buyers are powering the wellness trend.
Thanks to a new legal market, first-time adult consumers flocked to Eaze in 2018, more than double from the previous year. Even after adjusting for new cannabis taxes and fees, consumers average order volumes are higher across the board.
The Boom boom.
Baby Boomers are one of the fastest-growing groups of cannabis consumers. They’re also the biggest spenders by a fairly wide margin – a trend that follows closely along generational lines. On average, Boomers spend 53% more than Gen Z consumers.
Women are catching up.
The gender balance is steadily shifting: the number of female consumers nearly doubled year-over-year between 2017 and 2018, and market share of women rose 3% for the third consecutive year. If the pace continues, we will see equal gender representation among cannabis consumers by 2022.
Veterans and people with disabilities benefit from cannabis.
Millennials still dominate.
Millennials are still the biggest group on Eaze, reflected in the average age of our customers.
‘Cannabis culture’ is becoming mainstream culture.
For the first time ever, Green Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) beat the classic cannabis holiday April 20th (4/20) in one-day sales. As cannabis normalizes, consumer e-commerce trends, such as Black Friday shopping, are reflected in cannabis purchases. Legalization also brought an openness around consumption, with many consumers likely sharing their experiences and cannabis education with friends and family around the holidays.
Consumers order cannabis more frequently than ever.
With a widened customer base, cannabis orders have never come in faster.
Northern and Southern California have unique buying patterns.
As cities enhance cannabis access by allowing delivery services, nuanced neighborhood trends are beginning to emerge in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
Not only are consumers nuanced in their respective regions, there are also subtle differences in how those in Northern California versus Southern California consume – though perhaps the biggest insight here is that our commonalities are greater than our differences.
EAZE INSIGHT: Convenient consumption is on the rise.
As new consumers navigate the complex world of cannabis brands, easy-to-use products gain popularity. Products that don’t require paraphernalia, such as ready to use prerolls, edibles, and vaporizers, are gaining momentum over traditional flower purchases.
CBD was the darling of 2018.
Across all cannabis product types, one thing is clear: CBD is the breakout star of 2018. The cannabinoid that reportedly brings an array of wellness benefits without the high saw its consumers double year-over-year, with women and Baby Boomers driving growth by using CBD for anxiety, sleep, and pain relief.
Data represents consumers who primarily purchase products with high CBD content.
There are subtle differences in product preference among cannabis consumers.
As the cannabis consumer diversifies, subtle segment preferences are beginning to emerge. For instance, as women grow as a segment, their preferred products appear to be more “beginner” friendly.
Data represents consumers who primarily purchase products with high CBD content.
The most popular cannabis products cater to beginners.
The most popular vaporizers are those designed for newcomers. Vapes named based on intended effects — Calm, Happy, or Relief for example — outperformed vapes named after any particular cannabis strain. Consumers continue to prefer hybrid flowers over Sativa and Indica strains. Edibles continue to grow in popularity, likely due to the new trend of lower-dosed edibles, and gummies are the preferred delivery method.
Eaze Insight: Consumers are taking control of their wellness.
Wellness is a major factor in the increased popularity and consumption of cannabis. While there are subtle nuances regarding how different groups consume, across gender and generation, the overwhelming commonality is wellness.
CBD does not get you high, but it definitely makes you feel something.
CBD-only consumers reported feeling a variety of effects underscoring the expanding role of CBD in the wellness space.
Consumers are reducing unhealthy habits thanks to cannabis.
Cannabis consumers are leaving harmful substances and medications behind. All generations report drinking less due to cannabis, with Millennials most likely to reduce their consumption.
Passing on pills.
Pain management continues to be a popular application for cannabis. From minor aches and pains to more serious, chronic pain, consumers have historically only had access to over-the-counter or prescription medications. That has changed with the introduction of tested, regulated legal cannabis. Across demographics, Eaze customers report needing fewer pills: 71% reduced reliance on over-the-counter drugs and 35% reduced reliance on prescription medications.
More cannabis, fewer meds.
Baby Boomers and women are finding the most relief with cannabis.
* “High Dose” = more than 40mg, “Medium Dose” = 11mg to 40mg, “Low Dose” = 10mg or less
Passing on prescriptions, too.
Similar to over-the-counter drugs, prescription pain medications are falling to the wayside as consumers increasingly turn to cannabis for their more serious or chronic pain.
Report is available for download here.