October 11, 2018

Kadence International Survey Says Cannabis Consumers Not So Different

In this Cultivate webcast, Genifer Murray sits down with Miriam Konz, Managing Director for Kadence’s Boston office, to talk about the results from a recent survey aimed to understand cannabis consumers better.



Understanding the cannabis consumer and building appropriate buyer personas is an on-going quest by many marketing firms working within the cannabis industry. Learning about the consumer requires more than just analyzing sales data. Rather than looking at what products are selling, Kadence International, a global marketing research firm, and Miriam Konz want to understand why consumers buy the products. In this episode of Cultivate, Genifer Murray talks with Konz about their research and what they discovered.

With more than 25 years of experience in quantitative marketing research and analysis, Konz’ career has focused on packaged consumer goods and highly regulated industries like alcohol and tobacco. After being involved in strategic studies for product development, market segmentation, product line extensions, pricing, and new product testing in both domestic and international markets, the cannabis industry is a natural fit for Konz.

The Motivation

Konz explained that Kadence strives to do research which ignites action, encourages planning, and provides their clients with the tools they need to improve their marketing campaigns. As legalization moves across the nation, the cannabis landscape in the US is changing, and cannabis companies are scrambling to keep up. “We are trying to understand overall lifestyle and wellness behaviors, and with the changing landscape, how people are starting to use [cannabis] to address health and wellness issues.”

While other analytical companies provide insights based on point of sale data, Konz points out Kadence is interested in learning consumer motivation. For example, sales reports indicate a decline in flower sales, but survey data and self-reported behavioral data show flower is a preferred method of consumption by many consumers. “We are much more interested in the touchy-feely, motivation side of things,” Konz explained.

“This data answers the classic marketing problems which can’t be answered through sales data alone,” she continued. Questions targeting how to identify and talk to their target audience are vital in any industry, including cannabis. Investing in learning how to speak to consumers and formulate a marketing plan provides a strategic advantage which can help lead businesses to the top of a growing market.

The Survey Says

The survey recently completed by Kadence questioned more than 2,000 individuals aged 18 to 64 about multiple health and wellness related topics. Additionally, all respondents over the age of 21 received an additional survey module about cannabis usage. As a nationwide study, after parsing anomalies and bots, Kadence believes this is a quality representative sample regarding demographics, gender, ethnicity, and age.

The overall goal of the survey was to take a comparison of cannabis consumers and non-cannabis consumers to try to identify the significant differences. However, instead, Konz revealed, “Cannabis consumers are hiding in plain sight.” In fact, Konz reflected, the more they dug into the data, the more frustrating it became. While they hoped to find some glaring differences, it turns out cannabis consumers aren’t so different from non-consumers. “They exercise as much, earn as much… and there are few differences even between legal and nonlegal states,” Konz pointed out.

A few statistics from the study which stood out for Konz includes:

  • 18% of the respondents consider themselves a ‘cannabis consumer.’
  • One-third of cannabis consumers are consuming cannabis daily, one third are consuming at least weekly, and another third are consuming less than once a month.
  • Of those not currently consuming cannabis, an astounding 71% said they plan to within the next 12 months.
  • Only 4% of the participants outright rejected the notion of consuming cannabis.

Insights About Daily Use

Maybe some of the more interesting data came from those who are daily cannabis consumers. The survey showed several stats which could be useful to marketing entities in the cannabis arena. For example;

  • Daily cannabis consumers are less likely to wear a fitness tracker.
  • Daily consumers typically use multiple methods of consumption like flower, concentrates, topicals and more.
  • Daily users seek methods that offer a taste experience over less frequent users.
  • Daily cannabis consumers are most likely to decrease alcohol consumption, noting they feel cannabis is less harmful than alcohol.

Kadence in the Future

Konz made note that her firm is working on solidifying new cannabis surveys and insights with other clients, and she feels this is an exciting opportunity. “Market research expands across lots of categories, and I always enjoy learning about new industries, but cannabis just seems more fun than insurance,” she laughed. Reflecting on the endless opportunities which seem to be cropping up, she said, “You’d be crazy not to get involved [in the cannabis industry].”

While professional marketing analysis offered by Kadence isn’t inexpensive, learning how to communicate with your customers and understand their needs is priceless. To learn more about the market analysis services provided by Kadence, visit their website at https://www.kadence.com.