What do cannabis consumers look like post-legalization?

Research from Lift & Co. paints a picture of the habits and preferences of two different customer groups.
Medicinal Cannabis In A Plastic Bag And In A Cigarette - Alternative Medicine

Younger consumers are trying more cannabis products and represent more of the total market, but older consumers are spending more per trip, according to data from cannabis review website Lift & Co.

Presented on Friday at the company’s Lift & Co. Cannabis Expo, the analysis was compiled in partnership with Headset, a data and analytics company focused on the cannabis market, using survey and sales data from the six months following legalization.

Unsurprisingly, cannabis consumption has gone up since legalization, with 18% of Canadians reported having used cannabis in the previous three months, up by 4% from before legalization. Consumption by males rose 6% in that timeframe. While 43% of spending has come from millennials, more than half of consumers who tried cannabis for the first time after legalization are 45 or older.

More than half (58%) of consumers consider themselves a “connoisseur” (62% for male respondents, 46% for female respondents). Connoisseurs also tend to be younger, favour products with higher THC levels, prefer flower-based products over oil and consume primarily for relaxation and socialization. These customers, the report suggests, are more likely to be swayed by messaging that acknowledges their cannabis expertise, as well as single-serve options with lower price points that allow them to try a range of new, different products.

Newer consumers, in comparison, spend more per purchase, prefer products with lower THC levels or are balanced with CBD, spend more per trip and consume during daily activities like cooking and cleaning, on top of socialization. The report suggests these customers are swayed more by informational messaging from an authoritative source, seek out products that aren’t based around smoking and want to be reassured that they are consuming the right product for the right occasion.

Across Canada, the average spend per basket is $98, with $19 per item and an average of 4.5 items per basket. The size and cost of the total basket appears to go up with age ($55 for those aged 19 to 24, compared to $107 for those aged 45 to 54), but younger consumers spend more per item.

Retail sales for cannabis reached $60.5 million in March, with $1.95 million in average daily sales, both the highest levels in the six months following legalization.

Cannabis sales also seem to be doing better in provinces with a more robust selection of places to shop.

Ontario (which scrapped its retail plan months before legalization and only began opening physical retail stores in April) represents 38% of Canada’s population, but received only 18% of cannabis sales in March, while British Columbia (which struggled to get retail stores open in time for legalization, despite its reputation for being more cannabis-friendly) represents 13% of Canada’s population and 5% of sales. On the other hand, Alberta represents 12% of the population, but 24% of cannabis sales came from the province in March. Manitoba (4% of the population), Saskatchewan (3% of the population) and Nova Scotia (3% of the population), each contributed 8% to cannabis sales in March.