US brands must appeal to a new generation of female cannabis consumers using a variety of delivery methods for specific reasons, according to the latest findings from CBD and cannabis-focused market research company the Brightfield Group.

According to the firm’s US Cannabis Consumer Trends Report, the proportion of female cannabis users rose steadily during 2020, reaching 51% in Q1 2021.

It found female consumers skew younger and are heavier users than men, creating an opportunity, but also a threat, to companies aiming to cash in on the trend.

Source: US Cannabis Consumer Trends Report

The report warns: “Creating a following of young, heavy consumers is any cannabis brand’s dream. But that dream will stay fictional for brands focused exclusively on the traditional user. To successfully appeal to female purchasers, brands must account for women’s distinctive approaches to cannabis.”

Women in the US use more product types than men — especially gummies — but for more specific reasons, according to the report. “Women desire more effects from their cannabis use, while also using cannabis to treat mental and physical health conditions more than men,” it adds.

Senior insights manager at Brightfield Group Jamie Schau said: “This is an important departure from the classic cannabis consumer profile and those participating in the space will benefit from adapting to the evolving marketplace.”

In positive news for brands, consumers conscious of their cannabis use are more receptive to marketing messages than those who are not. “If the consumer knows why they use cannabis, it’s easier to send a message that resonates,” the report states.

The gender balance varies according to state, with Michigan recording a 59:41% female to male user ratio, compared to California, where women are in the minority at 43%.

These trends do not appear to be a function of market maturity alone as older markets like Colorado and Washington both have majority female consumers.

“Understanding who is shopping in each market provides a better view of who your brand is selling to, as well as what drives them to purchase,” the report concludes.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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