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Why is CBD on Shelf at Big Box Stores?

With GNC joining the ranks of mainstream big box stores carrying some type of CBD product (along with other major players in the drug channel like CVS and Walgreens), as if you needed any further evidence to believe, the rush is officially ‘on’ for products containing CBD in the mass market.

Where CBD shoppers are buying – for now: online and dispensaries

The data below – drawn from our recent CBD Consumer Experience report – may look quite different in the near future as the FDA clarifies its position on hemp-derived CBD products appearing outside dispensaries. For now, most CBD consumers are buying online or at a dispensary. The online channel isn’t – for a host of reasons – yet dominated by Amazon (represented by ‘Other Online Retailer’ below) but we should all assume that the 800 lb. gorilla is eyeing CBD carefully.

Purchase Channels for CBD Consumers

Are consumers receptive to CBD from big brands, at big box stores?

This may seem like a rhetorical question. After all, the moves by GNC et al. show that there is sufficient belief by those with deep pockets that the answer is a definitive “yes” or at least a “yes, for now”. But what are consumers actually saying?

  • 43% of current CBD consumers are seeking “easier access” to CBD products
  • 65% of current CBD consumers are open to cannabis products from well-known companies (such as OTC brands)
  • 37% of current CBD consumers are excited about the prospect of big brands launching CBD products, and finally,
  • Only 21% of current CBD consumers express fear of the market becoming “too corporate”

What does that look like? The data paints a picture of a receptive consumer base comfortable with CBD products appearing on shelf at mainstream stores, where accessibility – be it more convenient locations or an easier shopping experience – is a non-issue. Further, the majority (65%) open to big brands in CBD holds across all age ranges – this is not a Millennial thing. Nor do long-time users feel much differently – the data is nearly the same regardless how many years experience consumers have with CBD. People feel pretty much the same nationwide as well, as this statistic varies little state by state. Consumers living in adult use states, medical states, or even more limited locales all seem OK with the idea.

Not only that, but a substantial portion of CBD consumers are downright excited by the prospect. And only 21% of CBD consumers worry about The Man, despite a fierce independent streak in the cannabis community. Finally, CBD consumers are likely to welcome these entrants especially as new consumers – over 50% of current CBD consumers have been using CBD for less than 12 months – seek the perceived safeguards and consistency typical to mass-produced medications.

How was this data collected?
The CBD Consumer Experience: Part One draws from an online national representative (mobile and desktop) survey of U.S. adults aged 21+. The survey was fielded January 14-23, 2019 among 2,000 consumers, 1,500 of whom reported currently using CBD products.

Mike Luce

Mike Luce

Prior to co-founding High Yield Insights, Mike Luce led multi-million dollar insights engagements with Fortune 100 consumer goods companies. Mike has nearly 20 years experience developing market insights for some of the world’s leading consumer brands, including Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and General Mills, and retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Kroger.

High Yield Insights applies best practices and capabilities drawn from that experience to the dynamic cannabis industry.

Mike can be reached directly at [email protected]

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