ICR, a strategic communications and advisory firm, and Spectacle Strategy, a creative strategy consultancy specializing in branding, consumer insights, innovation and customer experience, released the firms’ co-authored research report, “The 2020 Cannabis Consumer,” which provides an extensive look at contemporary cannabis consumers in legalized markets across the US, including current consumption trends, product preferences and purchasing habits. The report delivers new and unique insights on cannabis consumer shopping behavior, including potential whitespace opportunities for brands, and is based on nationwide primary research conducted by the two firms.
In addition to cannabis user demographics, attitudes and usage data, The 2020 Cannabis Consumer report identifies five of the largest macro-trends that will influence the future growth and success of the industry:
• The Social Stigma of Cannabis
• Cannabis’ Impact on Alcohol and Adjacent Categories
• Cannabis and the Political Cycle
• Cannabis and the Female Consumer
• The Brand Opportunity

As discussed in the upfront of the report, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted cannabis’ role as an “essential business,” cementing the industry in the public sphere as a critical contributor to health and wellness, both for medicinal and recreational purposes, as well as a source of revenue for states and municipalities navigating through economic challenges in the pandemic’s wake.
Sample highlights from the report:
• Social stigma remains the top (#1) reason cited by consumers as a barrier to cannabis usage; 73% of cannabis consumers identified stigma as the top barrier.
• 84% of respondents feel that cannabis is safer than alcohol; 80% believe cannabis products are a safer alternative to prescription medication.
• Cannabis is curbing alcohol usage as 1 in 3 users report drinking less than before legalization.
• Brand is currently not a top driver of preference in the category today but represents a major opportunity for strategic advantage.
As basis for the report, ICR and Spectacle Strategy surveyed more than 1,000 US consumers on their attitudes toward and usage of THC and CBD products. All respondents were between ages 18–65; users of recreational or legal cannabis (purchased from a dispensary) at least two times per year; and did not work in advertising, PR, market research, financial services, cannabis retail, cannabis operations or alcohol production.
Download the free 65-page report.

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