Canadian Cannabis Consumers: Who They Are and Opportunities for Marketers

We have passed the one-year mark since legalization, and with the introduction of edibles, drinks, topical creams and vapes, the pace of innovation shows no signs of easing.

New products are likely to lead to new buyers among existing users and cannabis-curious people. The challenge for cannabis marketers is to find these consumers, understand how they behave, and run campaigns to reach them and convert them into buyers.

Our recently released report - Blazing a trail: the future of cannabis marketing in Canada - delves into consumer attitudes and behaviours around cannabis and is available for download and some of the top-line findings are summarized below.

Know your audience

Since legalization, the number of men using cannabis in some form has increased 18%, but among women, usage has remained pretty flat.

While younger consumers have shown the greatest online search interest in cannabis products, it’s older consumers who have had the largest increase in actually buying cannabis legally. This suggests that younger users are still buying from illegal sources, despite the legal option being available.

Looking at data from a sample of more than 550,000 consumers visiting cannabis sites, we identified three distinct audiences.

Active users

34% of the total Canadian audience are active users. They tend to be over the age of 35 with a moderate household income ($40,000 to $75,000 on average) and are more likely to live in urban areas. They’ve been consuming cannabis for some time and have a pretty clear idea of what they are looking for.

Their site activity and searching suggests an advanced understanding of the different forms and varieties of cannabis, and they tend to be more interested in Sativa derivatives with higher THC content (though that doesn’t mean they’re closed to trying new things). Most of their searches (62%) are carried out on mobile.

Experimenters

This group is a mix of existing consumers who love to experiment with different types of cannabis and new potential consumers who are dipping their toes in the water to find out what they like. They tend to be a younger group than active users: 43% are between the ages of 18 and 34, and most are either still pursuing their education or employed in an entry-level position. In their spare time, the experimenters tend to prefer indoor activities like watching TV or playing videogames.  

Online research suggests that these folks are uncertain about the different kinds of cannabis (which presents a great opportunity for marketers to educate them). Most of the cannabis content they seek out is informational, such as the health implications and effects of the different variants. Hybrids and Indica derivatives are fairly popular among this audience. They’re equally likely to browse and search on a PC/laptop or mobile device.

Researchers
 
This group is not using cannabis regularly, if at all, but they’re curious and like to keep tabs on new developments around cannabis offerings. Most of the cannabis content they consume is in the form of news articles around legalization or journals about the health effects of cannabis. These consumers are split evenly among different age groups and tend to be female. They also tend to gravitate to news content generally and are heavily invested in health and lifestyle-related content.

In summary, cannabis marketers need to stay on top of evolving regulatory requirements, understand the distinct audience groups and have tailored strategies for reaching and engaging them.

To learn more, download our full report Blazing a trail: the future of cannabis marketing in Canada.


Author: Jim Davis

MiQ is an independent programmatic media activation company. We have the people and technology to help businesses win. It is our vision to reimagine the value of marketing by connecting data and discovering insight to drive business outcomes. For more information on how to activate your cannabis campaign or to learn more, contact Jim Davis: jim@miqdigital.com

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