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The compliant cannabinoid industry is undergoing unprecedented change. Not only is CBD not the only non-intoxicating cannabinoid on the block anymore, but the massive shift to online sales is rewarding certain types of CBD products and reducing the emphasis on others.
To learn how to position yourself in the changing cannabinoid economy, you’ll need to study recent market trends and put together a dynamic branded product portfolio that caters to the times. Leveraging the latest report from acclaimed cannabis market analytics firm Brightfield Group, learn which CBD, CBG, and CBN products are currently the most popular, and discover how to build a brand that will stand the test of time.
1. COVID-19 has changed things
COVID-19 has initiated an unprecedented boom in CBD eCommerce. As lockdown orders have either shut down brick-and-mortar businesses outright or scared consumers away from shopping in-store, the online CBD market has flourished.
According to the Brightfield Group report, nearly 45% of consumers had shifted their CBD purchases online as of June 2020. While new data has not yet been released, it’s likely that this percentage is now considerably higher.
As a result, cannabinoid brands that position themselves to be online-facing will continue to thrive. Since the online crowd is generally younger, brands must also reformulate their target audiences to hit the market’s current sweet spot.
2. CBD consumer culture has shifted
As CBD has become more popular with a younger crowd of consumers, product types that traditionally tied down the market have lost some degree of relevance, according to the Brightfield Group report. Additionally, isolate and full-spectrum cannabinoid extracts have been forced to make room for broad-spectrum CBD, which incorporates the full benefits of minor cannabinoids without containing detectable concentrations of THC. Taking these market shifts into account will help you build a non-intoxicating cannabinoid brand that’s relevant for 2022, 2023, and 2024, not just 2021.
3. Tinctures have slowed but remain strong
Popular among Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, tinctures have taken a major hit as the CBD economy has become increasingly online-centered. That’s not to say tinctures are suddenly unpopular—far from it. According to Brightfield Group, tinctures still have a projected growth rate of 19% per year over the next five years.
The CBD market overall, however, is expected to grow at a rate of 29% per year between now and 2025, showing that tinctures have slackened by around 33% compared to the overall market. Tinctures will likely be a cornerstone of the CBD market for many years to come, but brands that focus exclusively on tinctures or place them in the spotlight in front of a younger crowd will fail to take the popularity of other product types into account.
4. Gummies and other edibles are on the rise
Compliant cannabinoid edibles are quickly gaining popularity and should be a staple to any cannabinoid product line. Accessible and remarkably popular among all age groups, CBD gummies are growing at a rate of 41% per year, says Brightfield Group. Other types of edibles are growing at a similar rate, denoting a sea change in the hemp industry.
While gummies have been around for years, these convenient edibles have suddenly caught on like wildfire. Successful CBD gummies are often positioned similarly to gummy multivitamins, leveraging additional ingredients that provide unique effects. The immense customizability of this product category makes it simple for brands to produce diversified gummies that stand out from the competition.
5. Softgels remain a mainstay
Tinctures may have taken a hit recently, but softgels will continue taking a central role in the compliant cannabinoid industry for years to come. Also called liquid capsules or gel caps, softgels are familiar to anyone who has ever taken a multivitamin, making these cannabinoid products highly accessible.
Often paired with vitamin C, ginkgo biloba, and other natural substances with nutritional or therapeutic value, lab-tested capsules especially appeal to an older crowd that’s skeptical of tinctures. Fueled significantly by high-profile retail chain partnerships, the CBD softgel industry is expected to grow by 26% per year over the next five years.
6. Topicals are popular for location-specific relief
According to Brightfield Group, compliant cannabinoid topicals are expanding in two unique and equally important ways. First, CBD topicals oriented toward location-specific relief continue to become more popular among older individuals with painful conditions, and cannabinoid skincare products are catching on among Millennials hooked into social media.
Not used orally and often available in tester sizes, topicals are more accessible to consumers who are in pain but skeptical about taking CBD orally due to fears of a THC “high” or medication interactions. The benefits of CBD topicals for location-specific relief have also recently been echoed by prominent athletes, helping these types of compliant cannabinoid products become more mainstream.
7. Skincare and beauty appeal to the Instagram crowd
At the same time that CBD topicals remain steady among older generations, CBD skincare products are trending on Instagram. Increasingly preoccupied with self-care and commonly socially isolated due to COVID-19, younger people are turning to CBD lotions, serums, lip balms, and even bath bombs as they search for social media tips and tricks that will help them look better and feel better.
Both celebrities and amateur Instagram influencers are amplifying the benefits of trendy CBD skincare solutions to their audiences, and skincare is expected to take up 5% of the overall CBD market by 2025, according to Brightfield Group. Brands that aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty with social media marketing have a lot to gain from this emerging sector of the compliant cannabinoid economy.
8. Minor cannabinoids are attracting attention
Let’s take a moment to shift the focus away from specific product types and hone in on a phenomenon that’s largely flying under the radar. Throughout this piece, you’ll notice that we’ve frequently used the phrase “compliant cannabinoids.” That’s because CBD isn’t alone anymore—and consumers are taking note.
Over the last year or so, two additional non-intoxicating cannabinoids have risen to the forefront: cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN). While similar to CBD in that they don’t cause intoxication, these cannabinoids each have unique properties.
Due to research into the potential antimicrobial properties of CBG, for instance, this cannabinoid will likely soon take off in acne remedy circles, and CBN is being added to capsules and tinctures due to its perceived sleep-promoting effects. Brands that seek to diversify and prepare for the future would be wise to incorporate these compliant cannabinoids into their lineups alongside CBD.
9. Innovation is always rewarded
Despite all the pointers we’ve given, there isn’t one right way to launch a cannabinoid brand. What’s important is crafting a method of making your brand stand out from the competition.
Maybe you build an Instagram-centered skincare brand that combines CBG and CBD. Perhaps you’ll launch a line of turmeric, spirulina, or theanine CBD gummies that also incorporate CBN. Whatever you do, just remember to pick a reputable manufacturing partner and put together a marketing plan that will establish your fledgling brand’s place as an industry icon.