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Consumer report lists why potential users are not buying cannabis


February 26, 2020
By Grow Opportunity staff

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The smell, the smoke and health concerns are still major reasons why cannabis-curious consumers are not making their first purchase, says a new Mintel report.

The global marketing intelligence agency, Mintel Group Ltd., says lack of education and prevalent stigmas still pose as significant challenges for the cannabis industry to overcome. The report, titled “Cannabis in Canada: A Comprehensive Look,” says adult Canadians have been told for decades that marijuana is illegal in the same way as narcotics.

“Many of the barriers to cannabis use that consumers have can be overcome with time, education and support of brands,” the report said, published on Feb. 25. “As a result, stakeholders in the industry should not expect these barriers to simply disappear just because the solutions already exist – it will take active tactics from brands to leverage these tools and encourage more people to try marijuana/cannabis.”

It is estimated that about a quarter of Canadian consumers are already using cannabis (27 per cent), but because of social stigma, about half of cannabis users are open about their usage with others. One third think that usage is still taboo, even after legalisation.

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As for open non-users, 32 per cent of those surveyed are not using cannabis products but are open to it. However, about 41 per cent feel that they are knowledgeable on how to consume cannabis.

“For stakeholders in the industry, the focus should be on both current users and open non-users,” the report said. “Current users have already shown that they are customers and therefore valuable, while open non-users represent the white space in the market.”

About 37 per cent of non-users said the smell is a major barrier, as well as 36 per cent who don’t like the smoke and 28 per cent who are deterred by the health concerns of cannabis use.

Although knowledgeable cannabis users would be quick to point out alternatives, such as vaporizers or edibles, the report says open non-users do not like the higher price of vape pens or the delayed onset of edibles.

The report suggests current users and open non-users alike prefer in-person retails stores over online shopping. The retail experience offers experienced users the capability of seeing and smelling products before purchase, while new users rely on the retail staff to explain how to properly use the different product types the store sells.