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The rise of CBD, and changing consumer behavior

While just 1 in 10 report using CBD, consumers’ awareness of the product and its benefits is on the rise.

In recent years, CBD has been used more frequently in food, drinks and supplements. The CBD market is in a period of relative infancy, which creates big opportunities for early adopters, brands that successfully address market and consumer challenges.

Despite the buzz, especially in the U.S., FMCG Gurus research showed that only one in 10 consumers around the globe said they are using products that contain CBD. Globally only 39% of consumers have even heard of CBD oil. For brands, this shows the future potential of CBD opportunity, which might have otherwise seemed tight considering how crowded the market in the U.S. has become.

Across all regions, 52% of consumers first heard about CBD via friends or family. This indicates that word-of-mouth marketing has been a key driver for CBD’s awareness. Online articles also are another influential way of finding out about CBD as 44% of global consumers said they first heard about it from an online source. As the CBD market evolves, brand marketing and educational efforts will need to find a way to reach these consumers and gain their trust.

Another hurdle for brands will be perception of efficacy and safety. FMCG Gurus defines CBD products as containing concentrated legal forms of cannabis extracts said to offer physical and mental health benefits. When given the definition, 40% of global consumers said they would be willing to try these products. However, 29% of consumers said they would not be willing to try or were unsure about trying CBD products.

The main reasons center around uncertainty about the products. For example, 41% of consumers said they do not know enough about CBD and 38% were concerned about potential side effects. Although consumers showed concern, if they had more awareness and information about CBD, 42% said they would be more likely to try them. This highlights that brands and manufacturers must provide the right information for consumers to be able to understand and trust new CBD products.

When targeting consumers with CBD products, claims are important. The top two claims consumers said they would find appealing are to aid depression and anxiety (47%) and to aid cognitive health issues (47%). Helping sleep patterns was also a claim that consumers found appealing (46%). These claims are important as FMCG Gurus’ “The Rise of CBD−Global 2020” report showed that 42% of global consumers would be willing to pay a premium for the right claims on these products.

Claims are a challenging area for CBD, especially in the gold rush U.S. market where regulators have ramped up their oversight of and action against drug, disease and other claims that fall outside of what is allowed for dietary supplements and foods.

The CBD market is becoming more mainstream, with many consumers willing to try these products to aid many health issues. However, it is important to recognize that several barriers exist. It is crucial that brands and manufacturers are clear and transparent with their consumers, helping them understand the benefits and potential side effects of the products. As consumers are becoming more health conscious and taking actions to improve their overall health, brands can look to use claims that state CBD products can help with cognitive health issues, which in turn aids in overall health.

Will Cowling is marketing manager at FMCG Gurus. This article is based on “The Rise of CBD−Global 2020” report. For more information, please contact FMCG Gurus at info@fmcggurus.com.

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