This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the US Recreational Cannabis Consumer market including US Recreational Cannabis Consumer market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, the edibles consumer market, and industry trends for the Recreational Cannabis Consumer market in the US.

Current market landscape

Recreational cannabis consumers are a diverse group, bringing their own preferences and habits to legal cannabis use. COVID-19 forever changed the landscape of recreational cannabis. Evidence of this ranges from cannabis’ designation as an “essential business” and revenue driver for states, but use of cannabis for fun has also increased: in 2019, 34% of users cited “fun” as a driver of cannabis use, which rose to 36% in 2020 and 39% in 2021.

Future market trends in the recreational cannabis consumers market

As more states legalize adult use, more brands are entering the space, increasing competition and allowing consumers to become choosier with their cannabis products. This report helps define two key concepts, premiumization and innovation, within the context of the recreational cannabis consumer in order to guide brands through the rapidly changing market landscape. Both premiumization and innovation are key components of a positive consumer experience, and these factors shed light on current and future trends in formats, usage patterns, knowledge and key demographics.

Read on to discover more about the US Recreational Cannabis Consumer consumer market, read our US Inhalables vs Edibles Market Report 2021, or take a look at our other Cannabis Market research reports.

Quickly understand the US cannabis consumer market

  • How consumer use of recreational cannabis has evolved over the past year.
  • How consumers define “premium” and “innovation” as they relate to cannabis.
  • Which formats and innovations represent the biggest opportunities.
  • Where consumers have gaps in knowledge about cannabis and where they’re well versed.
  • The Recreational Cannabis Consumer
  • The Recreational Cannabis Consumers market

Covered in this report

Brands include: Rogue Paq, Banana Bros, Dr. Dabber, Merry Jane, Ounce of Hope, Source CBD, Leafly.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Michele Scott, a leading analyst in the Cannabis sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The recreational cannabis consumer is looking for a cannabis experience, though individual users define a good experience differently. As more states legalize cannabis and more brands emerge, competition to become a consumer’s go-to experience is becoming fierce. Premium products and innovative products give brands the edge they need to win over recreational users.
Michele Scott, Senior Analyst
Michele Scott
Senior Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Scope
          • Market context
            • COVID-19: US context
              • Economic and other assumptions
              • Executive Summary

                  • Top takeaways
                    • Cannabis market overview
                      • Figure 1: Recreational cannabis outlook, 2022-27
                    • Overall cannabis use normalizing to pre-pandemic levels
                      • Figure 2: Trended cannabis use, 2019-21
                    • Opportunities and challenges
                      • Answer questions about terpenes to help consumers help themselves
                        • Figure 3: Knowledge about cannabis and cannabis terms, 2021
                      • Concentrates present opportunity as premium products
                        • Figure 4: Format use and interest – Concentrates, 2021
                      • Buzz about drinkables hasn’t translated to consumer use
                        • Figure 5: Format use and interest – Drinkables, 2019-21
                      • Edibles surged at the height of stay-at-home orders
                        • Figure 6: Trended format use – Edibles, 2019-21
                      • Key consumer insights
                        • COVID-19 drove increased use among current users, product trial
                          • Figure 7: Impact of COVID-19 on cannabis use, 2021
                      • State of the Cannabis Market

                        • The dollars just make sense
                          • Currently legal for recreation in 18 states
                            • Spotlight on New York
                              • Upcoming legislation
                              • Target Audience – Cannabis Consumer Segments

                                  • Five segments of cannabis users have distinct profiles and motivations
                                      • Figure 8: Consumer segments of cannabis users, 2021
                                    • Definitions of the ideal experience change with age
                                      • Figure 9: Important attributes – Experience, by age, 2021
                                  • Market Factors

                                    • Inflation misses the cannabis market for now
                                      • Update on positions on federal legalization
                                        • DUI issues further complicate regulation
                                          • Research is lacking, causing problems for consumers and brands
                                            • Amazon backs cannabis reform
                                            • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                                              • Rewrite the THC as premium story
                                                • Premium, innovative accessories elevate the experience
                                                  • New strains and eco innovation
                                                    • Education on flavors
                                                      • Connect consumers to CBN, CBC
                                                      • The Recreational Cannabis Consumer – Fast Facts

                                                        • Cannabis Knowledge

                                                          • THC knowledge is solid; the rest needs work
                                                            • Figure 10: Knowledge about cannabis and cannabis terms, 2021
                                                          • Men and women have a handle on the basics
                                                            • Figure 11: Knowledge about cannabis and cannabis terms, 2021
                                                          • Delta-8 competes for a younger crowd; CBD alternatives with middle age
                                                            • Figure 12: Knowledge about cannabis and cannabis terms, by age, 2021
                                                        • Trended Cannabis Use

                                                          • Cannabis use rose at onset of COVID-19, reverts to pre-pandemic levels
                                                            • Figure 13: Trended cannabis use, 2019-21
                                                          • Women’s heightened use didn’t stick
                                                            • Figure 14: Trended cannabis use, by gender, 2019-21
                                                          • Younger consumers drive new use
                                                            • Figure 15: Trended cannabis use, by age, 2019-21
                                                        • Frequency of Cannabis Use

                                                            • Figure 16: Trended cannabis use frequency, 2019-21
                                                          • Women use less often than men
                                                            • Figure 17: Cannabis use frequency, by gender, 2021
                                                          • Younger consumers lead for daily use
                                                            • Figure 18: Cannabis use frequency, by age, 2021
                                                        • Format Use

                                                          • Edibles get a pandemic boost
                                                            • Figure 19: Trended cannabis format use, 2019-21
                                                          • Drinkables pose an interesting opportunity
                                                            • Figure 20: Trended cannabis format use and interest, 2019-21
                                                          • Lapsed users represent opportunity
                                                            • Figure 21: Cannabis format use and interest, 2021
                                                        • Reasons for Cannabis Use

                                                          • Stress declines since 2020, but still a top motivator for use
                                                            • Figure 22: Trended reasons for cannabis use, 2019-21
                                                          • Cannabis helps women catch their zzz’s
                                                            • Figure 23: Reasons for cannabis use, by gender, 2021
                                                          • Microdosing offers opportunity across ages
                                                            • Figure 24: Reasons for cannabis use, by age, 2021
                                                        • Important Attributes

                                                            • Experiences matter but translate differently
                                                              • Figure 25: Important attributes, 2021
                                                            • Wellness appeals to women
                                                              • Figure 26: Important attributes, by gender, 2021
                                                            • Safety is a salve for skepticism, particularly among older consumers
                                                              • Figure 27: Important attributes, by age, 2021
                                                          • Defining Premium

                                                            • Premium means THC, terpenes
                                                              • Figure 28: Defining premium, 2021
                                                            • Innovate for men; improve for women
                                                              • Figure 29: Defining premium, by gender, 2021
                                                            • Bells and whistles aren’t relevant with older consumers
                                                              • Figure 30: Defining premium, by age, 2021
                                                          • Defining Innovation

                                                            • Innovation doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel
                                                              • Figure 31: Defining Innovation, 2021
                                                            • Women want practical innovations
                                                              • Figure 32: Defining Innovation, by gender, 2021
                                                            • Bring flavor to the youth
                                                              • Figure 33: Defining innovation, by age, 2021
                                                          • Purchasing Habits and Preferences

                                                            • Cannabis consumers buy in the moment
                                                              • Figure 34: Purchasing habits and preferences, 2021
                                                            • Women want to be brand loyal
                                                              • Figure 35: Purchasing habits and preferences, by gender, 2021
                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                            • Data sources
                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                    • Terms
                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer: Non-users

                                                                        • Figure 36: Non-users interest and experience, 2021

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