Description

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the the U.S Recreational Cannabis Consumer market, including the behaviors, preferences and habits of the consumer.

The stress of 2020 directly benefited the recreational cannabis market as both consumption incidence and use frequency increased from one year ago, as did the share of cannabis consumers who say they use cannabis for stress relief. Cannabis companies have the opportunity to increase category engagement with lowdose products for low-frequency consumers and create new accessories that cater to the needs of high-frequency users. Reasons for cannabis use vary among users, yet an interest in using cannabis for sleep and relaxation is shared among virtually all cannabis users, indicating opportunities for products and marketing messages that closely connect cannabis with sleep.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our U.S Food market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the recreational cannabis market.
  • Cannabis format consumption trends.
  • How brands can satisfy the needs of both high- and low-frequency users.
  • What consumers want from cannabis products and why.

Covered in this report

Brands featured: Canopy Growth, Molson Coors, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Aphria, Dixie Brands, Arizona Tea, Mary’s Medicinals, Papa & Barkley, Pax, DaVinci, OTTO, LEVO and more.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Caleb Bryant, a leading analyst in the Cannabis sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The pandemic upended many industries yet largely benefited the relatively nascent recreational cannabis market as stressed out consumers locked down with cannabis products. Brands have the opportunity to create products that solve the needs of various cannabis users, ranging from first-time to experienced users. The growing acceptability of cannabis use presents non-cannabis brands with the opportunity to engage with cannabis users.

Caleb Bryant
Associate Director of Food and Drink

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • COVID-19: market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Impact of COVID-19 on recreational cannabis
                  • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on recreational cannabis, February 2021
                • Challenges
                  • Inhalable usage slips as respiratory concerns grow
                    • Figure 2: Trended cannabis format usage, have used in the past three months, 2019 vs 2020, October 2019; November 2020
                  • Negative product experiences dissuade experimentation
                    • Figure 3: Cannabis product frustrations, by cannabis consumption frequency, November 2020
                  • Market growth is hindered by restrictions
                    • Opportunities
                      • Pandemic results in a unexpected market boon as stress levels rise
                        • Figure 4: Trended reasons for using cannabis, 2019 vs 2020, October 2019; November 2020
                      • Non-cannabis brands can capitalize on the growing market
                        • Figure 5: Activities after consuming cannabis, November 2020
                      • Products should promote explicit mood claims
                        • Figure 6: Product attribute importance, by cannabis consumption frequency, November 2020
                      • Create products for an aging population
                        • Figure 7: Consumption motivators among non-users who are open to use, by age, November 2020
                      • Sleep is a near-universal reason for cannabis use
                        • Figure 8: reasons for using cannabis, by age, November 2020
                    • The Market – Key Takeaways

                      • Cannabis users fit into a profile but are not a stereotype
                        • Pandemic supercharges the market
                          • Inhalables face an image problem
                            • Positive outlook for cannabis reform
                            • Cannabis Consumer Demographics and Interests

                              • Cannabis consumers are young, techies and foodies
                                  • Figure 9: Cannabis consumers, recreational cannabis consumers and medicinal cannabis consumers, demographic profiles indexed against general population of states with recreational cannabis, November 2020
                                  • Figure 10: Cannabis consumers, recreational cannabis consumers, and medicinal cannabis consumers, interests and beliefs, indexed against general population of states with recreational cannabis, November 2020
                              • Impact of COVID-19 on Recreational Cannabis

                                  • Figure 11: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on recreational cannabis, February 2021
                                • Lockdown
                                  • Reemergence
                                    • Recovery
                                      • COVID-19: US context
                                      • Market Factors

                                        • Pandemic leads to market boom as stress levels run high
                                          • Figure 12: Mental health experiences in the past year, May 2020
                                          • Figure 13: Factors contributing to stress, lack of sleep, by generation, May 2020
                                        • Respiratory health concerns dissuade use of inhalables
                                          • Miracle drug or just a lot of smoke?
                                            • Aging population offers opportunities
                                              • Figure 14: Population by age, 2020-25
                                            • Shifting attitudes toward alcohol may benefit cannabis
                                              • Figure 15: Cannabis attitudes among non-users, by age, November 2020
                                            • Nascent industry goes through its first recession
                                            • Market Factors – The State of Legalization

                                              • One in three Americans have access to recreational cannabis as legalization expands
                                                • House passes monumental cannabis bills; federal changes are on the horizon
                                                • Market Opportunities

                                                  • Make pens and vaporizers approachable for low-frequency users
                                                    • Flower brands must highlight story, cultivation, and ethical claims
                                                      • Market moods to ease consumers into the category
                                                        • Figure 16: Product attribute importance, by cannabis consumption frequency, November 2020
                                                      • Pandemic forces dispensaries to master online retail
                                                      • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                                        • Beverage brands bet on drinkables
                                                          • Topicals are ideal for older consumers
                                                            • Gadgets solve issues for cannabis users
                                                            • Competitive Strategies

                                                              • Cannabis companies toast to drinkables
                                                                • Skin in the game: topicals and transdermals can offer consumers relief
                                                                  • High tech high
                                                                    • Products offer ease for canna-cooks
                                                                    • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                                      • Cannabis use increases as consumers opt for edibles
                                                                        • Consumers use cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes
                                                                          • New users need simplicity and low-dose products
                                                                            • Non-cannabis brands can connect with cannabis users
                                                                              • Medicinal products can bring new consumers into the market
                                                                              • Trended Cannabis Use and Frequency

                                                                                • Stressors of 2020 result in increased substance use
                                                                                  • Figure 17: Trended substance use, 2019 vs 2020, October 2019; November 2020
                                                                                  • Figure 18: Trended cannabis use frequency, 2019 vs 2020, October 2019; November 2020
                                                                                • Younger consumers are driving the cannabis market forward
                                                                                  • Figure 19: Trended substance use, by age, 2019 vs 2020, October 2019; November 2020
                                                                              • Trended Interest in Cannabis Trial

                                                                                • Openness to use increases, but barriers remain
                                                                                  • Figure 20: Trended cannabis use and openness to use, 2019 vs 2020, October 2019; November 2020
                                                                                  • Figure 21: Cannabis use and openness to use, by age, November 2020
                                                                              • Trended Reasons for Using Cannabis

                                                                                • High stress levels benefit the cannabis market
                                                                                  • Figure 22: Trended reasons for using cannabis, 2019 vs 2020, October 2019; November 2020
                                                                                • Cannabis is a respite for recreational users and a quality of life enhancer for medicinal users
                                                                                  • Figure 23: Reasons for using cannabis, by recreational and medicinal consumers, November 2020
                                                                                • Products with a medicinal purpose appeal to Hispanics
                                                                                  • Figure 24: Reasons for using cannabis, by race/ethnicity, November 2020
                                                                                • Younger consumers seek stress relief and recreational benefits
                                                                                  • Figure 25: reasons for using cannabis, by age, November 2020
                                                                              • Trended Cannabis Format Usage

                                                                                • Respiratory health concerns benefit edibles
                                                                                  • Figure 26: Trended cannabis format usage, have used in the past three months, 2019 vs 2020, October 2019; November 2020
                                                                                • Recreational consumers prefer traditional formats
                                                                                  • Figure 27: Cannabis format usage, have used in the past three months, by recreational and medicinal consumers, November 2020
                                                                                • High-frequency consumers drive the flower and concentrate markets
                                                                                  • Figure 28: Cannabis format usage, have used in the past three months, by cannabis consumption frequency, November 2020
                                                                                • Drinkables and topicals/transdermals are white-space formats
                                                                                  • Figure 29: Format interest, have not used but interested in using, by cannabis consumption frequency, November 2020
                                                                              • Typical Ingestible Dosage

                                                                                • Lack of dosage knowledge indicates a need for brands to educate consumers
                                                                                  • Figure 30: Typical ingestible dosage, among edible or drinkable users, November 2020
                                                                                  • Figure 31: Typical ingestible dosage, among edible or drinkable users, by cannabis format users, November 2020
                                                                                • Medicinal consumers go big
                                                                                  • Figure 32: Typical ingestible dosage, among edible or drinkable users, by recreational and medicinal consumers, November 2020
                                                                              • Product Attribute Importance

                                                                                • Consumers want to know what to expect from a cannabis product
                                                                                  • Figure 33: Product attribute importance, November 2020
                                                                                • Market moods to low-use consumers
                                                                                  • Figure 34: Product attribute importance, by cannabis consumption frequency, November 2020
                                                                                  • Figure 35: Product attribute importance, by cannabis format users, November 2020
                                                                              • Product Frustrations

                                                                                • Consumers are largely satisfied by current products
                                                                                  • Figure 36: Cannabis product frustrations, November 2020
                                                                                • Low-dose products are necessary for new consumers
                                                                                  • Figure 37: Cannabis product frustrations, by cannabis consumption frequency, November 2020
                                                                              • Purchasing Frustrations

                                                                                • Price constraints will ease as the market matures
                                                                                  • Figure 38: Cannabis purchasing/retail frustrations, November 2020
                                                                              • Cannabis Consumption Activities

                                                                                • Tune in
                                                                                  • Figure 39: Activities after consuming cannabis, November 2020
                                                                                • Non-cannabis brands can find ways to connect with cannabis users
                                                                                  • Figure 40: Activities after consuming cannabis, by age, November 2020
                                                                                  • Figure 41: Activities after consuming cannabis, by age and gender, November 2020
                                                                                • A desire for sleep is shared among cannabis connoisseurs and newbies alike
                                                                                  • Figure 42: Activities after consuming cannabis, by cannabis consumption frequency, November 2020
                                                                                • Brands have an opportunity to market to Black cannabis users
                                                                                  • Figure 43: Activities after consuming cannabis, by race/ethnicity, November 2020
                                                                              • Consumption Motivators among Non-Users

                                                                                • Better science can dramatically expand the market
                                                                                  • Figure 44: Consumption motivators among non-users who are open to use, November 2020
                                                                                  • Figure 45: Consumption motivators among non-users who are open to us, by age, November 2020
                                                                              • Cannabis Attitudes among Non-Users

                                                                                • Public is generally cannabis-positive
                                                                                  • Figure 46: Cannabis attitudes among non-users, by openness to cannabis use, November 2020
                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                      • Appendix – Substance Cross-utilization

                                                                                        • Substance cross-utilization
                                                                                          • Figure 47: Substance cross utilization, November 2020

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