While the industry continues to weigh the impact of the latest shake-up by the FDA, potential adopters of CBD among non-users continue to eye the growing multitude of cannabidiol-infused products with interest and trepidation. For example, the warning letters issued in late November caused a stir in the industry – and may have had a chilling effect on new entrants by big brands – but for many consumers, that incident was too “inside baseball” to register.
Potential CBD consumers are seeking reassurance. (Low-priced reassurance, preferably.) When we last collected data, former and potential consumers reported a variety of factors that may motivate them to resume or try using CBD products.
Not surprisingly, as in nearly all similar consumer studies, lower prices will move the needle most. When taken in combination with interest in “easier access”, this mindset suggests consumers will increasingly trial and adopt CBD as products begin to appear in more retail settings including mainstream outlets consumers visit regularly such as convenience and chain drug stores.
As consumers encounter CBD products in such settings, incremental and substitute purchases are possible. For some consumers, CBD may be additive to an existing physical wellness, mental health, or even beauty regimen. Others may find CBD better suited to existing needs only partially fulfilled by past purchases.
Those sitting on the fence won’t find information volunteered by current users much help. Only 29% of current CBD consumers report “recommendations by friends and family” as an influence on purchase decisions. The most trusted source of information for current consumers? For those buying CBD products from dispensaries, the budtender proved to be the clear favorite (47%) for users when identifying the most trust-worthy source. Left to their own devices, current consumers aren’t a confident bunch. Only 29% of CBD users understand how much CBD to take to achieve the desired effect. That said, most (62%) are perfectly comfortable going it alone without professional guidance.
Here’s some cold comfort for firms concerned about the ripple effect of the FDA’s actions: consumers are still obsessed over the legal standing of CBD (as evidenced in the chart above), a challenge the industry would like to resolve. This is not to take away from the very real and very difficult work on messaging that is underway at the good actors in the industry. So while brands read the tea leaves on what can and can’t be said, bear in mind most potential consumers aren’t caught up in that level of detail.