The Insights Response Center

How is COVID-19 impacting the CBD and Cannabis industries?

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Social Listening

Get a pulse on how people on social are talking about our industries in the context of COVID-19 and related keywords.
To view the dashboard, please visit the site on a computer.

Using the Dashboard

This dashboard is completely interactive. Click around on the tabs up top, specific chart elements, or use the filters on the left side.

The COVID-19 filter can be used to look at social posts that include industry categories in the context of COVID-19 or related keywords (coronavirus, quarantine, etc.).

So for example, if you want to look at posts about CBD only, click the CBD filter under Social Post Categories. If you want to look at CBD posts in the context of COVID, click both the CBD and COVID-19 filters.

View fullscreen dashboard

Insights from the Team

- When looking at Topics Over Time and conversations around COVID and CBD, self-care is overwhelming the top category. 76% of CBD consumers select "Well-being" as their desired product effect, aligning with growing wellness trends.

- Overall, posts about socializing are higher than usual, and although conversations have dipped during weekends, conversations about socializing have continued to rise as consumers create new socialization habits.

- CBD edibles are seeing increased volume towards the end of March, likely due to CBD brands heavily promoting discounted products and free shipping on most orders. Consumers would be receiving their products around this time as many promotions started mid-March.

- From March 15 to 31, the top 3 topics around cannabis on social media were social, self-care, and health. However in the first half of March, relaxation was in the top 3 instead of health, indicating a growing concern among users about their health and how they may be coping with quarantine.

- Cannabis conversations skyrocketed on 4/20. The top 3 post topics were Social, Self-Care and Relaxation as many cannabis consumers tried to sit back, partake in online smoking sessions, and enjoy their holiday.

More Content + Updates

Emerging Trends in a Changing Product Landscape

57% of US cannabis consumers planned to stock up during quarantine and 34% planned to use more frequently as of April 2020. However, 30% of these consumers planned to reduce their spending. How is the cannabis product landscape changing because of these behavioral shifts? How can brands adapt with new product launches?

Access the deck and recording here.

The Foundation for a Consumer-Centric Digital Strategy

As a follow-up to our previous webinar on the Future of CBD and Cannabis Under COVID-19, we want to provide you and your team the tools to effectively resonate with consumers online. We will dive into one of our personas and give attendees insight into what they need to activate on the shifting landscape.

Access the deck and recording here.

The Value of Honing in on Heavy Users

In our last webinar on the Foundation for a Consumer-Centric Digital Strategy, we emphasized the importance of heavy users and how they responded to COVID-19. Download the insights on Heavy vs. Occasional CBD Users here to learn how these consumers differ and the implications for brands.
Heavy CBD users seem to have more positive patterns of thinking while those who use CBD occasionally are more negative in their approach to life.

Occasional users are significantly more likely to be luxurious compared to heavy users. They might be more willing to indulge in more luxurious items like high-end topicals or beverages as part of a desired lifestyle, rather than practicality.

Download the Insights
Canada + Europe Update

International Research Manager, Jamie Schau, provides an in-depth update on how COVID-19 is impacting the Canadian and European markets.

Update from Jamie Schau on April 7, 2020:

In a unique move, Ontario has reversed course following urgent calls for change from local retailers, now (temporarily) allowing for curbside pickup and direct delivery by licensed cannabis retailers, so long as storefronts remain closed. Retailers and LPs that serve the province are sighing a breath of relief as this emergency order will permit them to ramp up or maintain legal operations during a pivotal time in a province of tremendous importance. The move will slow competition from the black market, which was already beginning to encroach, give consumers safer access, and allow the many retailers just opening up shop (and their employees) to keep their heads above water.

canadian cannabis consumer data covid spending changescanadian cannabis consumer data covid stocking up

While new patient enrollment and spending are likely to stagnate this year with patients unable or frightened to see physicians for their cannabis needs, recent survey data indicates that 43% of registered cannabis patients are using cannabis more frequently due to this crisis.

This is likely in an effort to offset increased levels of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain during this difficult time. Their additional spending may potentially offset drops in new patient enrollment for the year.

- Jamie Schau, International Research Manager

The Canadian Consumer Response to COVID-19

Despite potential concerns about respiratory complications, product format purchasing patterns have hardly shifted, with only 4% of consumers surveyed using fewer inhalable products as a result of COVID.

Accordingly, those players highly reliant on flower sales or going heavily into vapes with the launch of the Canadian 2.0 market aren’t expected to see much more of an impact than their competitors will.

- Jamie Schau, International Research Manager
canadian cannabis consumer data covid purchasing locations
Though e-commerce is now a viable and tempting option for many, Canada Post’s decision not to deliver products that require signatures – ie. all cannabis – to doorsteps presents a barrier here.

Additionally, services like (e.g. Purolator, FedEx, Pineapple Express) have been stepping up to fill the void, adapting their signature processes and requirements.

- Jamie Schau, International Research Manager
Most provinces have deemed cannabis retailers and supply chains “essential." In a unique move, Ontario has reversed course on its shutdown of dispensaries, following urgent calls for change from local retailers. They are now (temporarily) allowing for curbside pickup and direct delivery by licensed cannabis retailers, so long as storefronts remain closed.

Beyond this, some dispensaries have elected to limit hours or shutter regardless of local policy, and consumers are likely to avoid in-person interactions in general, highly limiting foot traffic.

- Jamie Schau, International Research Manager

The Future Under COVID-19: Strategic Decisions You'll Need to Consider

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated industries across the country and CBD and Cannabis are no different. In this conversation with Brightfield Group's Managing Director Bethany Gomez and Research Director Kay Tamillow, they dive into the impact the virus has had and the strategic shifts that businesses need to make in order to succeed.

Access the deck and recording here.

Online Communities in Quarantine

You’ve heard it by now - the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home and socially distance. With accessible and reliable digital infrastructure, how are online communities shifting to stay in touch? Read more in this blog post.
"...ex-Youtuber's have their own streaming platform; and Instagram has a plethora of tags and influencers...These communities are flourishing with all the extra time on people’s hands."

- Maddie Obrzut, Content Specialist

COVID Social Listening: March 1-15 Analysis

Our team gives some brief analysis on the start of COVID-19 amongst consumers and their conversations on social. Read more in this blog post.
"While posts about socializing, politics, and athleticism have reached new peaks, "self-care" has continued to take up a major share of conversations. So, despite national news guiding conversations, users online still post about self-care as it relates to their products, even more so in time of crisis.

- Maddie Obrzut, Content Specialist
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Recapping Week 1

Managing Director, Bethany Gomez, and Research Manager, Andy Seeger, recap the first full week of quarantining in the US and its impact on our industries.

In the conversation, they cover:

- New consumer data around shifting purchasing and usage habits while social distancing.

- Government responses to lockdowns and "essential business" requirements.

- The future of the industries and how COVID-19 is shifting the market faster than expected.

How is the supply chain being disrupted?

"One primary concern is hardware from China, which is a behemoth in cannabis manufacturing - especially when it comes to vapes. Thus far major interruptions haven't been seen, though, as China has been quick to pick operations back up.

For Europe, international trade/import challenges may impact product flow - for example, Germany still relies wholly on imports to supply its medical market, thus if Canada or Netherlands need to prioritize production for local markets, supply will be interrupted there.

In Canada, however, there continues to be massive oversupply so this looks unlikely - and in fact, COVID interruptions may be a tool to help Canadian LPs offload excess product even while halting operations. Finally, the closure of various distribution channels - as well as decreased foot traffic - will limit consumer access and purchasing anywhere CBD has entered the mainstream, namely the US and Europe."

- Jamie Schau, International Research Manager

What is happening in European CBD?

"On the CBD front, the environment is similar to the US. While e-comm is popular there, CBD brands have finally been gaining momentum in big chains, and that will stall as stores continue to shutter and consumer priorities shift.

Many of these chains offer CBD online so if the US is any indicator, consumers will head there. Online delivery infrastructure, however, is not as robust or omnipresent in Europe as it is in the US and will likely lead to delays for consumers."

- Jamie Schau, International Research Manager

Why is e-comm spiking for CBD companies?

"E-commerce baskets are sticky- they will buy the same product again and again and again in e-commerce. They’ve taken the time to research and buy it. You may be more likely to go on and buy the same product because you’ve done it before."

- Kay Tamillow, Research Director

What about shipping CBD?

"No issues in CBD so far. Companies margins will be lowered as most are offering free shipping on any size order. Also adding discounts to products. We're not seeing slower shipping times yet."

- Virginia Lee, CBD Research Manager

How is COVID-19 Affecting the CBD Industry?

Brands and consumers are reacting to the immense impact the pandemic is having on their lives. Our new consumer data signals promise for the future and the companies that are well-structured to handle the shift may move to the top. Read more in this blog post.
"With so much of the country in quarantine right now, many are turning to self-care indulgences to keep themselves sane and even just pass the time, which is likely to help boost some CBD self-care products during quarantine time."

- Bethany Gomez, Managing Director

48% have stocked up or plan to stock up on CBD.

39% of consumers plan to use CBD more frequently.

Only 23% of CBD consumers said they plan on reducing their spending on CBD.

Younger consumers are more likely to plan to increase their CBD usage.

Nearly half (47%) of Gen Z and Millennial CBD consumers plan to use more frequently, compared to only 37% of Gen-Xers and 27% of Boomers.

N = 1,676
Survey fielded online from March 16-19, 2020. The sample includes 1,676 respondents in the United States who have used CBD in the last 12 months.

Download the CBD Consumer Response Mini-Report

Higher household incomes are slightly more likely to plan to use CBD more frequently. This is not surprising given that their relatively higher levels of disposable income give them more resources to spend on CBD products, which often carry a high price tag.

Even among those with a household income of less than $40,000, 38% of CBD consumers are planning to use CBD more frequently, indicating that demand is strong across the board and highlighting opportunities for budget positioning or promotions to help all consumers meet their needs.

- Kay Tamillow, Research Director

The CBD Consumer Response to COVID-19

This is directly in line with our conversations with clients. Their e-comm sales are spiking.

- Kay Tamillow, Research Director
An uptick in online sales has already been seen by top CBD brands, and this is likely to continue.

So far, E-commerce supply chains and fulfillment networks seem to be performing well.

They'll need to execute strong inventory and distribution planning to prevent fulfillment bottlenecks and delays to consumers, all while keeping in mind the best interest of their employees at warehouses and fulfillment centers.

- Kay Tamillow, Research Director
Nearly one-third (32%) of moderate users (using CBD 1-4 days per week) intend to use CBD more frequently, representing an opportunity to convert these more occasional users into daily users with effective and high-quality products that can inspire high levels of consumer loyalty.

- Kay Tamillow, Research Director

With so many Newbies quickly taking to regular use, demand seems poised to skyrocket. Estimates put heavy users as the group most Newbies age into after they move up the consumer education curve.

Heavy use from these consumers is the growth vector that will scale new markets and add health to established markets.

- Andy Seeger, Research Manager

52% have stocked up or plan to stock up on cannabis.

Only 28% of consumers say they will not stock up.

Millennials are the most likely of all age groups to increase their cannabis usage.

Only 31% of Gen-Xers and 17% of Boomers are increasing.
Only 7% of cannabis consumers plan to use less inhalable products.

N = 941
Survey fielded online from March 16-19, 2020. The sample includes 941 respondents in the United States who have used cannabis in the last 12 months.
Many dispensaries are implementing measures - curb-side where, if possible, limit consumers in the store at a time and encourage or mandate online ordering or delivery.

One Oregon retailer: "Almost everyone is buying an ounce."

- Andy Seeger, Research Manager

The Cannabis Consumer Response to COVID-19

Most stores we contacted report sales up across formats, generally inline with typical sales. Some stockpiling of cartridges, concentrates, edibles. Occasional stockpile of flower where market prices and supply allow.

- Andy Seeger, Research Manager

The mood management categories are rather insulated from market shocks in terms of demand, and we will likely see consumers continuing to toke up to handle anxiety, or boredom or just as a way to take the edge off of each new day.

- Andy Seeger, Research Manager

Colorado Issues First Cannabis Delivery License in the State

"COVID is scrambling supply-chains and route-to-market options, forcing the notoriously slow governmental cannabis offices to respond much more rapidly than we have ever seen. Patient access and the healthcare as well as general business sustainability within the industry is now pushing liberalization of multiple markets across the country. This is a strange time, and in some ways an opportunity to right many market inefficiencies within the market by swiftly addressing issues and challenges. Governments have shown they can and will respond with solutions if driven by the industry at large."

- Andy Seeger, Cannabis Research Manager

What will cannabis consumers watch and listen to while at home?

Our lifestyle data on cannabis consumers dives into media consumption and other interests. Download the insights here.

The past decade has been a golden age for television and with the proliferation of streaming, music, tv, and movies are more accessible than ever. We wanted to learn how cannabis consumers entertain themselves by looking at their TV and music preferences.

Dive into music genres, tv streaming and more in our insights on tv and music preferences for the cannabis consumer.

Retail Closures in Canada Show Need for E-Commerce

With Canadian cannabis retailers closing their stores, ship-only sales policies, and an unprecedented pop in demand over the past few days, the Canadian market is due to revisit its roots. Read more in this blog post.
"As Ontario and British Columbia begin to come into their own with new infrastructure and capital expenditures, this new, perhaps temporary, paradigm could represent an opportunity for firms and governments to perfect direct-ship methods, perhaps permanently shifting consumer behavior."

- Andy Seeger, Cannabis Research Manager

Out-of-State Patients Sheltering in Place, Finding Little Help

With much of the United States, and the world, hunkering down, we have seen a spike in cannabis sales as consumers in legal markets stock up for some downtime. However, medical cannabis patients still face hurdles. Read more in this blog post.
"While many governments are strained by the requirements of this outbreak, patient rights and access deserves some small amount of attention and concern. Medical patients may be reclaiming the baton from corporate interests in pushing the industry forward during these trying times.

- Andy Seeger, Cannabis Research Manager

Cannabis Consumers & Social Distancing

With our research on cannabis consumer hobbies and free time, we take a look at how they may spend their self-isolation time. Read more in this blog post.
The extra free time may be a shock to nearly 40% of cannabis users that report having less than 10 hours of free time per week, but the 1 in 4 that have over 20 hours per week may start to get bored. Luckily, the majority of cannabis consumers watch TV (61%), listen to music (60%), and watch movies (56%) as hobbies. With the plethora of streaming media available, it is unlikely anyone will run out of shows to catch up on or albums to listen to.  Netflix is the most popular video streaming platform, as almost 80% of cannabis users have a subscription.

Want to learn which streaming services and genres cannabis consumers prefer? Download the insights here.

Consumers at Home: Alcohol vs. Cannabis Consumption

Many people will consume alcohol and/or cannabis while at home and their habits can vary immensely based on geography and substance preference. Download the insights to learn more.
When consuming at home

Which buyer personas are more likely to use cannabis at home? How do Canadian and American consumers differ in consumption?

Dive into these questions and more in our downloadable insights on alcohol vs. cannabis at home.