Cannabis retailing is poised to be a major industry sector: a majority (56%) of U.S. consumers would try cannabis if it were legal, according to a survey by A.T. Kearney. With cannabis already available for medical use in 33 states and recreational use in 10, it’s not too early for retailers to position themselves for this market’s growth.
“I think it’s still a little bit of ‘proceed with caution’ in the U.S. right now in terms of stocking this stuff, but it’s a space that’s changing quickly,” said Randy Burt, Partner in the Consumer and Retail practice of A.T. Kearney in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “It’s also a space where regulations are loosening, and I think that’s going to continue. Understanding how it plays with the rest of your product marketing strategy is important, because retailers don’t have cannabis well-understood at this point.”
The popular acceptance of cannabis is growing: 52% of U.S. consumers said medical cannabis should be legal, while 23% said both medical and recreational cannabis should be legalized. Additionally, the downside for retailers carrying such products is low: 36% of shoppers said their perception of a brand would improve if it launched a product with cannabis, while 50% reported no change.
Cannabis products aren’t found on traditional retailers’ shelves yet, even in states where they have been legalized. However, retailers can still take steps to prepare themselves for the time when cannabis truly hits the mainstream by learning more about:
- The non-recreational benefits shoppers may seek from cannabis products, such as pain relief and anxiety reduction;
- How tailoring products to the audience will play an important role in cannabis retailing; and
- The way retailers can prepare for the industry’s arrival, by monitoring state regulations, studying how the Canadian market is developing and assessing the reputation of different product suppliers.
Cannabis Offers More Than Recreational Opportunities
Even retailers that don’t plan to carry recreational cannabis products that are high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient that creates the cannabis “high,” should be aware of other uses that may spring up following legalization. The non-intoxicating compound cannabidiol (CBD) is piquing the interest…