It's not newbies nor microdosing mamas.
Cannabis drinks are a hotly discussed product type. Drinks are seen as a promising category for cannabis, one that will help bring the plant mainstream due to its proximity to alcoholic beverages. It's well-positioned to gain market share in the adult beverages category, with more and more consumers reporting swapping alcohol for cannabis.
Gen Z is particularly interested. Half of consumers aged 21 to 25 (the current legal aged cohort of Gen Z) say they use cannabis as an alcohol substitute, according to Brightfield Group's Evergi Consumers survey of the general population. So, while cannabis drinks are only expected to account for 1% of adult-use sales in the US, companies are vying to offer the brand that consumers of all ages reach for when looking for a psychoactive drinks experience.
One group that is thought to be the prime target for cannabis drinks brands is the "microdosing mamas," defined as women who have children in their household and report using cannabis at least weekly. While this group is more likely to have used a cannabis drink than the general cannabis consumer population, fathers with children in the home are much more likely to enjoy a cannabis drink.
Brands like to paint a picture of the "wine mom" becoming a "cannabis drinks mom," but it seems that the beer-drinking father is the better target. Of parents that consume cannabis 1 to 4 days per week, fathers are 42% more likely to report using a cannabis drink than mothers!
Further, many brands behave as if cannabis drinks are the best way to introduce cannabis to new users, believing that for newbies, drinks are more familiar than smoking. But looking at the data, it's not newbie cannabis users adopting cannabis drinks.
Since 2021, only 6% of THC beverage consumers have been new to cannabis. Who's taking up the lion's share? Three-quarters of drinks consumers have used cannabis "consistently" or "on and off" throughout their lives. Additionally, 2/3rds say they use cannabis in some form at least daily! These aren't newbies spending in the category. They are experienced users enjoying cannabis drinks as a part of their regular cannabis use.
Targeting the Experienced Cannabis User
People who use cannabis drinks are more likely to use nearly every cannabis product type. Their flower use is in line with the average cannabis consumer, but they are twice as likely to use capsules, chocolates, and tinctures, for example.
Knowing that THC drinks are only a part of their regular cannabis intake, brands can't rely on the novelty of drinkable cannabis to impress these consumers. The most successful cannabis drinks in the nation are thoughtfully branded to appeal to consumers' desired effects of their cannabis.
Cannabis drinks are expected to see above-average market growth through 2027, but as a minor player, it is still likely to stay under 1% of the US cannabis market. Companies should ask themselves if they are appealing to the underlying desires and needs of existing drinks consumers to learn how to expand their reach. With fewer dollars spent on drinks compared to nearly all other product types, brand strategy has to be spot on to be successful in the category.
Need help developing a winning strategy for cannabis drinks? Schedule a demo for a real-world demonstration of Brightfield Group's powerful toolset for the Cannabis industry.