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Generational Insights into Consumption

This has been quite the year, and it’s obvious that we all feel an immense amount of stress under the dark cloud of COVID-19. Naturally, one would suspect that cannabis users would be using more cannabis to cope with the stress of uncertainty, but Brightfield Group’s new report gives us the numbers to back it up and shows the different purchasing patterns between the generations.

Younger Generations Increasing Use

Unsurprisingly, 31% of Canadians report using more cannabis, and 69% use it to deal with the stress of the pandemic, but what may be surprising is who is feeling the brunt of it. Younger generations like Gen Z and millennials seem to be hit hardest, with 39% of Gen Z cannabis users saying they are using more frequently, and 66% reporting that using cannabis helps them cope. Millennials reported similar habits, with 40% using more frequently and 73% saying it helps with COVID stress. Around 70% of Gen X agreed that cannabis helps them relax, but only 25% are using more. Baby boomers and the Silent Generation seem to be taking the pandemic in stride, with only 15% and 13%, respectively, increasing their usage, but 58% of boomers and 46% of the Silent Generation use it to deal with stress.

Daily cannabis users reported the highest increase (43%) and the highest dependence on cannabis for stress relief (83%). Less frequent cannabis users agreed that cannabis helps them cope, however, it affected their usage much less.

Spending Habits

With this increased use comes increased spending. While 30% of consumers say they’ve reduced their spending during COVID-19, 36% reported an increase. Since younger generations are more likely to use more cannabis in response to the pandemic, they are also more likely to spend more, even with a precarious income. Data shows that 28% of Canadians with a household income of less than $40,000 reported spending more on cannabis during the pandemic. Of these, 24% said they saved money by only buying cannabis when it was on sale. Among the Gen Z respondents, 41% said they increased their cannabis budget, and millennials reported the same, with 43% spending more. Only 19% of older generations reported increasing their budget, however.

Changing Product Choice

Along with spending, consumers’ product of choice is changing as well. Since the pandemic started, 23% of consumers have reported using more edibles, and 19% are using fewer inhalables. Interestingly, it’s Gen Z and the Silent Generation who have made the switch, with 26% of Gen Z users and 25% of the Silent Generation admitting to using more edibles during the pandemic, however, it’s generally the younger generations adjusting their inhalable use.

Whichever product consumers are choosing, 30% of Canadians are going for a higher dose. Gen Z consumers are the most likely to switch up their usual product to get the best value, causing 37% of them and millennials to go to a higher dose product. These generations are also the most likely to switch from shopping in-store to shopping online. During the pandemic, 38% of Gen Z, 39% of millennials and 30% of Gen X preferred buying their cannabis online, however, surprisingly even 19% of boomers and 17% of the Silent Generation made the switch, as well.

When we enter the post-COVID era at some point next year, hopefully soon, it will be interesting to see how these cannabis consumption trends change.