The Rapid Growth of One of the Most Popular Ingestible Cannabis Products
Cannabis consumption in Canada has been increasing with legalization and is expected to reach $6.1B by 2025. With 67% of adults 18+ in Canada consuming cannabis or open to consuming cannabis, the familiar form factor and multitude of flavours that gummy products present make them especially appealing to consumers.
More than three-quarters of Canadian cannabis consumers report using cannabis for recreational/social benefits, while almost half consume for health/medical purposes. Primary reasons consumers report for using cannabis include:
- Relax / be mellow
- Sleep better
- Have fun
BDSA Consumer Insights data reports that more than half of Canadian consumers report consuming edibles, while less than one-third prefer edibles over inhalables or topicals. Data from Q1 2020 shows that gummy candies are the preferred ingestible product category for adult-use consumers in both Canada and the US. Of those who reported consuming edibles in the past six months, 60% of US consumers used infused gummies, compared to 54% of Canadian edible consumers. This lower percentage of reported use by Canadians surveyed holds true across most ingestible product categories as edibles are still ramping up in the legal Canadian market. BDSA retail sales tracking data shows that while chocolates captured the largest share of edible sales in licenced stores in both BC and Alberta year to date, gummy sales are growing at a faster rate than chocolates.
The lower rate of edibles consumption by Canadians is likely influenced by the limited availability of edibles in the legal market at the beginning of the year. This assumption is supported by the fact that edible oils, one of the few ingestible products available to Canadians at the launch of adult-use sales on October 17, 2018, saw a past 6-month consumption rate of 21% for Canadians, compared to 13% for US consumers.
Another consideration for edible consumption in Canada may be the relatively low 10 mg THC limit per package that has been imposed on the legal market by Canadian regulators. While this regulation may dissuade some consumers, BDSA’s data shows that 47% of Canadian consumers prefer ingestibles containing 10 mg THC or less, while 21% do not know how much THC they prefer, suggesting that potency is less of a deal breaker for consumers when stacked up against other desired characteristics that gummies offer, such as convenience, discretion, and taste.
Gummies are also the most preferred edible product by a wide margin, with 33% of US and 31% of Canadian ingestible consumers citing gummies as their preferred type of edible.
BDSA Consumer Insights data shows that ease of use and flavour options are the top reasons for ingestible consumers to prefer gummies, with 38% of US ingestible consumers in adult use markets citing these as the reason they prefer gummies. Canadian consumers show a similar dynamic, with 39% citing ease of use as their reason for preferring gummies, while 37% cite flavour options. This suggests that the rising popularity of gummies may be due to the same factors that lead consumers to prefer vapes, which have also seen massive growth in legal markets. The dual benefits of offering a convenient, discrete form of consumption with a wide range of flavours to suit any consumer’s taste seem to be key factors leading to the success of gummy products.
The familiar, easy-to-use form and flavour options that gummies present make the product appealing to consumers, even as innovation in the industry has led to a much wider variety of other ingestible products than were previously available. With the appealing characteristics that they present to consumers, cannabis gummies are expected to take up a larger market share of Canadian ingestible sales in the future and become a driving force for total legal ingestible sales for years to come.