Cannabis edibles saw strong performance in 2020, maintaining their share of category sales despite the pandemic and uncertain economic situation. Drawing on data from our consumer insights survey and retail sales tracking service, BDSA has identified several trends in edibles that will be key to success as this product category continues to grow in popularity and sophistication.
Consumer preference for cannabis edibles is growing
BDSA’s consumer insights data shows that consumer use of and preference for edible products consistently grew throughout 2020. From the fall of 2019 to fall 2020, the percentage of consumers in adult-use markets who reported consuming inhalables in the past six months remained stable (around ~75%) while reported past six-month consumption of edibles in adult-use states grew from 69% to 73% over the same period.
Consumer preference for edibles is also on the rise, especially in California, where the percentage of consumers who stated that they prefer edibles rose from 30% in the fall of 2019 to 39% in the fall of 2020. California edible consumers are also consuming more frequently, as the share of those who reported daily consumption of edibles rose from 40% in fall 2019 to 54% in fall 2020.
CBD is still relevant
According to BDSA’s retail sales tracking data, roughly 20% of edible sales in 2020 came from products containing CBD, representing ~15% growth in year-over-year CBD edible sales.
BDSA’s Consumer CBD survey from Fall 2020 reinforces the importance that CBD plays in the US edible market, as 75% of all CBD consumers reported consuming CBD edibles in the past six months, compared to ~50% and ~30% of consumers who reported past six-month use of CBD topicals or CBD inhalables, respectively. Once just an obscure acronym to many cannabis users, CBD is now widely known and playing a big role in influencing consumer choices, with 50% of consumers reporting that they choose edible products based on their CBD content.
Innovation is driving growth in the edibles market
Edibles growth continues to stem from forms that offer convenience and fast-acting effects.
Gummies continued to see faster sales growth than any other edible product in US markets in 2020, ending the year with an 86% share of candy sales across BDSA retail sales tracking states. The move towards convenient edibles like gummies makes sense, as 22% of U.S. consumers who prefer edibles cite convenience as a major factor that influences their product choice.
Meanwhile, 11% of these consumers cite fast-acting features as an influence of their product choice. Beverages, another form factor prized for its fast-acting nature and convenience, also experienced a surge in sales. This was particularly true in Canada, where BDSA’s retail sales tracking data shows that beverages made up 15% of edible sales in January 2021.
The growing consumer awareness of edibles paints a profitable picture for edibles producers and retailers, but it also shows a need for those in the industry to adapt to meet the desires of an increasingly knowledgeable consumer base. By utilizing CBD and lesser-known cannabinoids, pursuing popular form factors such as fast acting gummies and beverages, and recognizing the importance of thoughtful, informative branding, edible producers can leverage their position to take full advantage of the increasingly popular product category.