How Canadians are researching (and buying) cannabis products

Research from MiQ finds one in four visitors to a cannabis store have researched it first, and most stick to one store for purchases.
Medicinal Cannabis In A Plastic Bag And In A Cigarette - Alternative Medicine

Female interest in cannabis has remained flat since legalization last year, while men’s has increased 18%. Also, the latter is 48% more likely than the former to research cannabis and related content online.

Those are just two of the findings from a report on cannabis by marketing intelligence company MiQ. Data for the study was taken from a variety of sources  including Statistics Canada’s National Cannabis Survey conducted between Q4 2018 and Q3 2019, online searches, the websites of several major cannabis retail aggregators in Canada, mobile location data collected by geofencing cannabis dispensaries and retail outlets, as well as discussions on Twitter and Reddit over a one-month period.

Overall, cannabis consumption was found to have increased by 9% between the first quarters of 2018 and 2019, with consumption growing the most in Ontario (up 48%), followed by Alberta (up 30%). Despite having the most competitive pricing in Canada, consumption only increased 6% in Quebec, according to the report.

MiQ found that digital consumers over the age of 45 are more likely to conduct cannabis research than younger consumers, and the former tends to focus on the health impacts of cannabis and the benefits of different varieties. Cannabis users under the age of 45, meanwhile, are 1.4 times more likely to use a store locator to find a cannabis provider.

Moreover, consumers living alone are 2.4 times more likely to consume cannabis than those living with a partner and 3.2 times more likely than those with one or more children living in their household.

Data from a sample of more than 550,000 individuals visiting cannabis retailers revealed that the average cannabis enthusiast is likely to visit a retailer’s website more than six times per month on average and spend around 13 minutes browsing. Among the most curious consumers, product research amounts to more than 40 to 45 minutes per month.

Around one in four visitors to cannabis stores or pharmacies have read about cannabis or related topics before making the trip, and 42% of those visiting the locations viewed cannabis content in the two weeks prior. Most go to a physical store within one week of having checked out the retailer’s website.

Customers who go to a physical store tend to make their purchases without visiting other stores. MiQ notes that “cross-visitation for different cannabis stores is marginal at best, suggesting that offline buyers are likely to visit a single store for their needs rather than comparison shopping and visiting multiple outlets.”

What’s more, data taken from the geo-fencing of more than 125 cannabis dispensaries and retail outlets in five different cities across Canada reveals that most consumers visit stores during the weekday, leading the research firm to conclude, “hyperlocal campaigns and targeting strategies designed to bring passerbys into the store can have the greatest impact and create new repeat customers.”