With the cannabis market attracting new customers every day, social norms, and customs around cannabis usage, sharing, and gifting are developing simultaneously. Old stigmas are falling away. The health & wellness benefits cannabis offers have opened the category to consumers who previously may not have been comfortable with the idea of trying or using cannabis as part of their health regimen, and for recreational cannabis users, they are happy to see that the plant they’ve long enjoyed finally getting its proper dues. Quite simply, cannabis usage has now become more mainstream. And as a category gains traction, researchers as well and brands take notice!
Recreational cannabis usage is now legal in 11 states, the District of Columbia and four out of five permanently inhabited US Territories. Currently, New Jersey, Mississippi and South Dakota have it on the ballot for 2021 and there’s a possibility of 11 other states coming up for a vote in November. Medical usage of cannabis is legal in 33 states, so research is imperative for brands in this explosive new industry.
Our partners at SoapBoxSample who started doing cannabis research in 2016 when the excitement around the development of this new consumer category was building. Realizing that there were many startups and even mid-sized cannabis brands who had never done traditional market research, SoapBoxSample launched a few self-funded research initiatives to gather the insights that would be most helpful to an emerging industry. Their CANNApinion poll was born out of those early initiatives. Today, SoapBoxSample surveys 1,000 cannabis consumers every 2 weeks to understand their purchasing preferences and their habits, attitudes, and perceptions around cannabis use.
SoapBoxSample’s February 2020 poll revealed that 42% of cannabis consumers were planning to gift cannabis products for Valentine’s Day! They knew that many people were using cannabis both as a traditional gift, and as a shared experience, to relax, and/or to feel closer to their partner. We were curious about the development of this new tradition. Could cannabis begin to replace wine or champagne as a romantic date night staple? Would cannabis-infused chocolates become the go-to Valentine’s Day gift?
The research team at KNow came on board to conduct qualitative interviews with gifter/gift-ee pairs to understand the emerging field of cannabis gifting and unearth key takeaways for brands. We uncovered trends that may have a significant impact on the 2020 holiday season, and beyond. We also discovered that cannabis users are a savvy, well informed group of consumers that know their brands, have done their homework and are happy to pass their knowledge on to others, and when speaking to them, should be treated as such.
Brands need some guidance on holiday and year-round gifting assortments. Many of the project’s key findings may sound like tables takes for experienced CPG professionals in our audience, but these are key elements for cannabis brands to consider for holiday planning:
Through this process we may have ‘gifted’ brands with thought-starters to help make their 2020 holiday season a merry one, we as researchers also received a gift. Conducting this cannabis study allowed us to be a part of an industry on the precipice of general acceptance. That’s a rare opportunity and a gift we hold dear.