Teachers are convening their digital classrooms on Google. Drag queens are doing death drops at home for virtual tips. It seems like every industry is reinventing itself in hopes of making it to the other side of an ongoing, global health pandemic.
While entertainers and educators are turning en masse to streaming options as a means of staying viable, the pathways available for the regulated cannabis industry — classified by officials in both Canada and much of the U.S. as “essential” in recent weeks — are far murkier. Available data indicates both a massive spike in sales prior to the implementation of “stay at home” or “shelter-in-place” orders in various cities and states, as well as steep declines a week or more into the de facto lockdowns
Stocking Up on CBD Products
Though the numbers on sales continue to arrive in dribs and drabs, a new study from the market research company Brightfield Group offers a ton of fascinating insights into how COVID-19 has thus far changed or reinforced CBD consumer habits. For instance, according to researchers, 48% of the individuals surveyed indicated they have already stocked-up on CBD or plan to stock-up on the cannabinoid.
In terms of the societal value of CBD, these numbers clearly show that for almost half of the consumers queried, the cannabinoid was clearly important enough to either pre-purchase a reserve supply or to inspire a desire to do so. On a similar note, Brightfield also reports that only 23% of participating consumers said they were planning to reduce their spending on CBD at this time.
Staying Home and Staying Safe While Spending
One of the biggest areas of change is the question of e-commerce. Online sales are up across the board thanks to the practical realities of asking everyone to stay to home. The same is true for CBD brands, who may now wish to know whether customers forced to adapt to e-commerce will ultimately decide to stick with it once the COVID-19 crisis has passed. According to Brightfield’s data, responses were split almost evenly among those who do plan to switch to e-commerce (33%), those who do not (31%, and those who remain unsure (36%).
Cannabis Consumption Habits May See Changes
In addition to habits of purchase, Brightfield Group’s report also touches on the products and dosages consumers are turning to these days. It’s likely the 7% of consumers who indicated that they plan to eat more edibles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are thinking about the potential dangers of smoking anything while a disease that attacks peoples’ respiratory systems remains uncontained. While the subject continues to be the source of much debate, the matter of potency — especially as it relates to the non-psychoactive compound CBD — appears to hold more widespread appeal. Brightfield reports that 15% of consumers are currently to increase their dose of CBD.
Age is another metric that offers insight into the habits of CBD consumers at this moment. Brightfield’s research reveals that Gen-Zers and Millennials are the generations most likely to up their usage of CBD (47%) when compared with Gen X (37%), Baby Boomers (27%), and the Silent Generation (14%). These two generations are also turning to CBD as a way to manage anxiety in the largest numbers.
The last area covered by Brightfield concerns frequency of use. The data suggests that pre-pandemic habits are likely to hold strong at the current moment. Consumers using CBD five or more days per week (48%) are the most likely to increase their frequency of use, though “moderate” users (in this case defined as using CBD one to four times per week) aren’t far behind at 32%. Of those who use CBD only a few times per month, 21% indicated they intend to consume more frequently as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis.
The Pandemic Goes to Pot
In the weeks and months ahead, expect numerous other surveys of this sort to emerge. Many powerful people are very interested to know what this pandemic means for pot. As old habits continue to change in the face of a radically-shifting present, cannabis consumers may potentially hold the power to redefine many facets of the industry simply by buying what they believe in.
The value of a dollar, at least when it comes to legal weed, has never meant more.