What’s Stalling CBD’s Market Penetration?

What’s Stalling CBD’s Market Penetration?

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As marijuana moves away from being perceived as a “gateway drug” to a more mainstream cash crop with broader legal and medical acceptance, the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol (CBD), found in marijuana, has emerged as a major growth driver.

Associated with a host of health benefits, such as a sleep aid, pain relief, and reduced anxiety and depression, CBD is quickly becoming the new super-ingredient. Even Coca-Cola is addressing the trend, saying in a statement that it is “closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD” as a wellness beverage ingredient.

According to The Brightfield Group, a cannabis market analysis company, the market for legal CBD products is expected to skyrocket to $1.6 billion by 2021.

Already, CBD is finding its way into not only gummies, lotions, and alcoholic beverages, but also everyday products including coffee, juice, shampoo, soap, and more. Though the marketplace is growing, Suzy has discovered an opportunity for greater market education to help consumers understand the wellness benefits of CBD and to de-stigmatize cannabidiol from the plant from which it’s extracted.  

What We Found

In a survey of 3,000 consumers, 77% were aware of CBD in some sense, with 40% fully understanding the product and its wellness benefits.

Do you know what CBD is (without having to look it up)?

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Of those who are aware of cannabidiol, we asked if they were consumers of CBD, and if so, in what format.


Do you use CBD in any form?

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Suzydug deeper into CBD users to get a better understanding as to why they use it. In order of the number of mentions, these are the top use cases we uncovered:

  • Relief of muscle and joint pain

  • Anti-anxiety and relaxation

  • Better sleep

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It shouldn’t be surprising that these wellness benefits are in high demand. In a follow-up question to the same audience, we learned that a higher concentration is the number one purchase driver among consumers when deciding what product to choose over others.

What drives you to purchase one CBD product over another?
Choose up to three top considerations.

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Because CBD is only recently enjoying legal status in certain areas, these benefits are still largely anecdotal. However, if the science bears out these health claims, it’s likely that CBD adoption rates will spike even more.

But there’s still another major factor holding CBD back from total market penetration: its association with THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.  We asked consumers to describe CBD in their own words and "marijuana" and "cannabis" were the top two mentions.


Suzy™ Says

As CBD becomes increasingly accessible across the country, and consumers continue to seek natural alternatives to over-the-counter medication, CBD is perfectly positioned to take the market by storm. For brands who are looking to capture this opportunity early-on and thinking about innovating with CBD, emphasis should be placed on the healing benefits of the product, especially for anxiety, stress, and pain relief.  For this, consumers are willing to pay a premium for a higher concentration when choosing between one CBD product versus another.

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Is your food/beverage company looking to test out new flavors, ingredients, or package designs? Contact us for a demo.


Meet Suzy™

A consumer insights platform that helps you gather information on what your potential customers care about, so you can make the right decisions for your business, product, or service.

Suzy is a better, faster way to conduct market research at the click of a button – like having a focus group right in your pocket.