There’s no denying that the CBD (cannabidiol) industry has grown incredibly fast in the past few years. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 2019 saw a 700% increase in consumer demand for CBD-based products, and Rolling Stone reports that the market will hit $22 billion by 2022.
Those are some massive numbers, and it’s worth asking: what’s driving all that growth?
And more importantly, how can retailers capitalize on the CBD market?
To answer these questions, we took a dive into the CBD industry and identified some emerging trends in the space. Whether you’re someone looking for business opportunities or you’re CBD retailer who wants to grow your business, here are the top trends to keep an eye on.
1. Consumers are searching for CBD more than any other wellness trend — beating meditation, acupuncture, and veganism
Cannabidiol products have always been huge in the realm of health and wellness, but in case there’s any doubt of just how big CBD is in the space, consider the fact that it is now the most-researched health and wellness trend on Google.
Industry data shows that searches that mentioned CBD and cannabidiol had 125.9% year over year increase in 2017 and 160.4% increase in 2018.
As of 2019, there were 6.4 million CBD-related searches from Google. That’s 3 times more than meditation and 7 times higher than acupuncture.
According to Hemp Industry Daily, the number of cannabidiol-related queries were also higher than common health and wellness searches, including:
Clearly, consumers want to learn about — and likely purchase — CBD products, so if you’re a player in the space, now is the time to beef up your presence on Google. Make sure your store is listed on Google My Business, so your store will show up in local searches.
A great example of a store with a strong Google presence comes from Your CBD Store in Thousand Oaks, California. In addition to having a complete Google profile with several positive reviews, Your CBD Store’s listing also has several great-looking photos showcasing the store’s interiors and products.
2. Big retail will continue to fuel growth
CBD continues to make inroads in the retail industry (and the mainstream world in general). Cannabidiol products are increasingly gaining the trust of legislators and consumers. As the NRF points out, CBD was the subject of more than 250 clinical trials and it was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill.
This has prodded larger retailers to embrace — or at least be more open to — CBD products. Walgreens, for example, is now selling CBD products in almost 1,500 stores in select states. Meanwhile, The Vitamin Shop also hopped on the CBD train by partnering with trusted brands in the space.
Big retail’s adoption of CBD also benefits small to medium businesses. CBD products being more prevalent on the shelves of mainstream retailers lends credibility and increases consumer confidence in cannabidiol.
The more mainstream CBD becomes, the better it is for the industry as a whole — and that includes large and small retailers alike.
3. The pet segment presents a massive opportunity
It’s not just people who are fans of CBD products. According to recent reports, pets (or at least the humans who own them) are also adopting CBD. Nielsen and Headset’s 2020 Pet Industry Green Paper predicts that hemp-based CBD pet products represent 3-5% of all CBD sales in the United States by 2025.
As Supermarket News reports:
Almost three-quarters of current CBD consumers have pets, and almost one-quarter of U.S. pet owners already use CBD for themselves, their pets, or both, noted the report. Nearly 26% of U.S. adults with dogs are using hemp-CBD products. Half of those already use CBD for their dogs, while the other half only use it for themselves.
What does this mean for retailers? If you’re a CBD merchant, you may want to consider expanding your range to include merchandise for your customers’ furry friends. If you’re a pet supplies store, see if it makes sense to start carrying CBD products.
Having the right CBD POS and inventory software is a must when making decisions around what products to order, stock, and sell. Learn how Vend can help you do all that and more so you can ensure that you always have the right products at the right time.
4. COVID-19 has prodded consumers to purchase CBD products
The coronavirus has adversely affected several retail categories, but CBD is NOT one of them.
An April 2020 survey by the National Retail Federation found that 70% of respondents made a purchase as a result of quarantining, social distancing, and working from home. CBD, along with alcohol and home organization products, were some of the top purchases.
Research from Brightfield Group saw a similar trend. A survey from March 2020 found that 39% of consumers expected to use more CBD because of the pandemic. The numbers are even higher among Millennials and Gen — 49% of these consumers intend to use CBD more in the coming weeks and months.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Cannabidiol is marketed primarily as a wellness product, and with COVID-19 prodding consumers to worry more about their health, it only makes sense that they’d look into CBD.
This trend won’t slow down anytime soon, which means that CBD merchants still have plenty of room to grow. It’s high time to find more ways to capitalize on this opportunity.
5. Brick-and-mortar + ecommerce is a winning combination
CBD products are best sold offline because consumers typically have a lot of questions about cannabidiol. It’s always great to have in-store associates explain how different oils, supplements, creams, and other items work, so shoppers can make informed decisions.
But with social distancing measures in place, traffic to physical stores are limited and people are increasingly turning to ecommerce for their CBD needs. In fact, online CBD retailers saw a spike in ecommerce sales, according to Food Navigator.
It’s more important than ever for CBD merchants to adopt an omnichannel approach to retail. If you’re already selling offline, be sure to set up shop offline. And if you already have an ecommerce site, don’t overlook brick-and-mortar retail. The CBD space is becoming more crowded; having a strong online and offline presence is the best way to compete.
Selling CBD? Arm your retail business with the right tools and data
With the CBD industry growing and changing rapidly, keeping up can be a challenge. What products should you stock up on? What’s the next big thing in? Which customers should you market to?
The best way to stay on top of everything is to arm your business with a retail management system that gives you the tools and data you need to get ahead.
Vend’s POS, inventory, and customer loyalty software is the best choice for your CBD store. Whether you sell in one store or many, at events or trade shows, Vend can powers sales, customer management, stock control, and reporting for your CBD business.
Click here to discover how Vend can take your CBD retail business to new heights.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.