Who Uses CBD? Usage is Surging But Who is Driving the Surge?

In the time since the 2018 Farm Bill passed, CBD has grown from a curiosity to a market phenomenon. Thanks to ballooning sales year over year, new companies are constantly hopping into the industry. If you’re considering entering the field, you’ll want to find a unique angle to capture the attention of customers. And in order to find the right angle, you need to know more about who uses CBD.

We know for a fact that CBD usage is surging, but who exactly is driving the surge? In this article we’ll take a look at some statistics regarding CBD sales in the United States to find the answers to the following questions:

Just How Big is the Surge in CBD Usage?

Just about everyone in the United States knows that CBD has become more popular in recent years. However, noting that there are more products on shelves isn’t a particularly scientific analysis. Thankfully, researchers and statisticians have actually done the legwork for us by measuring the total amount of CBD product sales in the US.

In this chart from Statista, we can see that CBD product sales started out at a relatively modest $108 million in 2014. Based on survey data gathered from 2014 to 2018, we can see that CBD sales increased by nearly 400% over the lifetime of the survey. But it’s once we look at the survey’s projections that things start to get interesting.

The estimates in the aforementioned survey predicted that 2019 would see an increase of about $350 million in total sales. Looking at a graph that has actual sales numbers up through 2020, we can see that the reality vastly outstripped the estimates put forth by the chart from Statista. Instead of the expected sales of just over $1 billion, CBD sales in 2019 topped $4 billion thanks to faster-than-expected nationwide legalization. Growth slowed in 2020, largely due to the impacts of COVID-19, but still saw the industry pull in nearly $5 billion in sales.

Looking at these numbers, it’s clear that CBD is becoming a major player in the marketplace. The question is, who is buying it? Let’s look at some demographics.

Which Age Groups Use CBD Most Frequently?

Like any product, CBD and hemp products are more popular with some demographics than others. As one might expect, younger people embrace CBD more readily than older people, but the numbers tell a more interesting story than that.

In a CBD statistics article from Singlecare, Gallup data shows that the 18-29 age group has the highest rate of CBD usage, at 20%. The numbers fall slightly with each generation: 16% for people ages 30-49, 11% for people ages 50-64, and finally 8% for people over 65.

There’s some other interesting data when we look at who has tried CBD. The trend of younger people being more open to CBD holds, but we see far larger percentages than we do in the frequent usage category. When it comes to having tried CBD, 40% of people ages 18-29 have tried CBD, 32% of people ages 30-44, 23% of people ages 45-59, and 15% of people 60 and older have tried the product.

As we can see, it makes the most sense to target a younger audience. But there are other insights to keep in mind regarding these numbers. For example, because more young people use CBD, there’s an increased difficulty when it comes to converting that audience to another product. Conversely, the older age groups likely don’t have as many products specifically targeted towards them, which could be an opportunity for retailers who want to find a different way to break into the market.

Not all CBD products are equally appealing to the general market. Certain products are less popular because they have a very limited set of uses. For instance, CBD patches, which are typically used to manage localized pain, only interested 8% of the survey participants.

The most popular CBD products tend to be general use products that can be taken quickly and discreetly. Products like CBD edibles (17% of surveyed audience expressed interest) and topical sprays (18% of surveyed audience expressed interest) sit near the top of the list. The most popular products of all are CBD tablets and capsules, which 18% of those surveyed said interested them.

Is the CBD Surge Here to Stay?

While it’s impossible to fully predict the future, it seems that CBD is here to stay. With sales figures projected to surpass $5 billion in 2021, it’s difficult to imagine a future where CBD products don’t have a significant place in the market.

It’s also worth noting that while CBD was legalized at the federal level in 2018, many states are still working on finalizing their own industrial hemp farming programs. Once these programs have gone into effect, there will be a larger supply of available hemp. This should help local businesses be able to source hemp and CBD products more easily than before, and will introduce the products to an even wider share of people.

What All of This Means for CBD Retailers

So now that we know who uses CBD the most and what they prefer, we need to figure out how this affects CBD retailers. From the numbers we’ve seen, it makes sense to lean towards more popular products such as edibles, topical sprays and capsules.

If your store sells CBD exclusively, you may want to try and tap into each age group. That said, a majority of your sales will likely come from the under-30 age group, or Gen-Z and younger millennials. Make sure that you carry plenty of products that are branded in a way that appeals to these age groups, but don’t forget that the age group directly above them, 30-49 (older millennials/Gen-X) don’t lag too far behind them in total usage.

In conclusion, it’s important to stay on top of CBD retail trends and sales figures. Keeping an eye out for the latest trends will help you stay in front of them when usage rates shift. Being a well-informed business owner is the first step towards finding success. Stay on top of the latest happenings in the world of CBD by visiting the US Hemp Wholesale blog. There you’ll find tips on how to improve your business, information about the latest trends, and information about the latest laws and regulations

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