Forty percent of users see CBD drinks as a healthier alternative to alcohol, only 20% prefer social aspect of alcohol; 50% reducing sleep aids, pain relievers 

Chicago – A diverse group of younger and more affluent consumers are beginning to prefer CBD beverages for socializing and on-the-go relief of anxiety, insomnia, and depression, according to cannabis market research firm High Yield Insights in an October 2020 survey of over 4,000 CBD users including 1,200 CBD beverage users. 

The results found CBD drinks users are younger (62% being Gen Z or Millennials), affluent (33% having household income over $100,000), with a significant portion of the sample (60%) having adopted CBD since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. CBD beverages users are much more likely than CBD users overall to use infused drinks to alleviate nausea and for exercise recovery. They also express more openness to household brands entering the CBD market. 

The data, collected by High Yield Insights in partnership with global consumer survey company InnovateMR, is the first of its kind to explore consumer behavior among CBD users at the category level. The research also includes categories currently used as well as those they would consider using or have discontinued using. Additionally, the study included over 35,000 respondents who answered key questions about their anxiety levels, impacts of the pandemic on their life, and their impressions of CBD products. Nearly 4,200 current CBD users gave additional responses about how and why they currently use CBD, product categories they would consider using in the future, and factors they consider when making a CBD purchase. 

“The beverage format appeals to consumers new to CBD because it is accessible, easy to dose, and resembles functional drinks in the mainstream market. Convenience was cited as a purchase driver for 42% of survey respondents and 45% report using other foods and beverages with enhanced ingredients,” said Mike Luce, President of High Yield Insights and a 20-year veteran in consumer insights and market research. “CBD beverages is an omnichannel category as well. Drinks users are twice as likely to have purchased from a supermarket or drug store than CBD buyers overall. Picking up a single can or bottle is a relatively inexpensive solution for curious mainstream consumers. This is evident in the responses from non-users, who indicated greater interest in CBD beverages than any other format.” 

CBD, the non-intoxicating compound derived from hemp, is used by many for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Furthermore, consumers have long touted its benefits in treating anxiety, stress and depression – ailments that have worsened or emerged in most Americans during the prolonged pandemic. This has spurred increased interest in CBD as consumer seek out new products to add to their health and wellness repertoire. However, because many CBD companies are largely unknown by consumers, current and potential consumers face the challenge of finding a product suited to their needs. 

“The CBD market is ripe for innovation and brand-building,” notes Luce. “Of the 4,200 users surveyed, only 28% report having found a product, brand, or format that works for them. Efficacy is utmost in the mind of consumers. About 40% of CBD users indicated achieving the desired result as a driver for more frequent purchase, which was second only to lower prices.” 

The study is the first to take an in-depth look at CBD category preferences and interests during the pandemic era, including examining changes to anxiety levels, how COVID-19 has impacted their lives and how they use CBD as a tool to manage the fallout of the ongoing pandemic. Lisa Wilding-Brown, Chief Research Officer for InnovateMR comments, “The cannabis industry has been faced with significant gaps in knowledge as it relates to category-level insights; working with High Yield Insights has afforded our company with a unique opportunity to understand the CBD consumer in an entirely new dimension. The large sample procured for this study has bridged this industry deficit significantly; brands will gain a unique understanding that hasn’t been available previously.” 

High Yield will be jointly presenting more data and analysis of the study results with InnovateMR on November 10. Registration and more information on the free webinar can be found here. 

Later this year High Yield will begin publishing the first reports in the upcoming 2021 CBD Consumer Insights Library, delivering meaningful, actionable insights on micro-level CBD consumer behavior. 


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