Analysing the potential for CBD success

Positive feelings towards cannabidiol (CBD) products in the UK are on the rise, as consumers are increasingly looking to obtain mental wellbeing benefits from every day products. Billed as a remedy for pain, anxiety, acne and depression, CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabis byproduct which has already gained traction in the US as a food, drink and cosmetics ingredient.

In order to establish what part of our panel is positive towards CBD we ran a steer, which found out that more than two thirds of consumers say they would buy CBD infused products:

This result is high compared to research done before; for example a survey commissioned by the Grocer has shown that only a third would buy CBD infused products. However, the same survey has highlighted that 42% of consumers were unsure what CBD was, therefore we included a brief explanation in the steer, leading to a more positive result. Confusion might be an obstruction for the success of the ingredient, given that cannabis has negative connotations for many. It is important that manufacturers, brands and retailers are clear on the features and benefits of their products.

Inspired by a selection of five new CBD-infused products published by The Grocer earlier this year, we asked consumers whether they would buy each of these items. Each product comes from a different segment, i.e. alcoholic and soft drinks, medicated confectionery, over-the-counter supplements and cosmetics:

It is obvious that CBD has potential in each of these segments, although there are different implications in the different segments, regarding who to target and how. Overall, men are more attracted CBD infused products than women, with 74.5% compared to 65.9%, but this can vary by product type.

However, product claims and packaging are key regardless of the segment and consumer characteristics. We obtained the best result for the CBD mints, which featured the phrase “to soothe and centre” on the front of the packaging. This claim is a reference to CBD’s purported wellness properties which a number of brands have already utilised in their marketing efforts, especially in the US. In order to establish whether this phrase really makes a difference, we ran a “split by description” test, showing the CBD mints to two sets of respondents, with and without the claim in the description, respectively:

The difference is 5.55% in favour of the product along with the wellness claim, which, although not ground-breaking, makes a strong case for the importance of getting the claim right.

CBD could potentially breathe new life into certain consumer goods segments thanks to the opportunity for brands to make an innovative functional claim for relieving stress and promoting a feeling of wellness. According to an article from The Independent, published earlier this month, sales of products containing CBD have increased by an impressive 99% in the UK since the beginning of 2019. In order to make the most of this market opportunity, brands should consider using informative packaging designs, reflecting the increased interest towards wellbeing benefits.

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