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27.3% Cdns Purchase Illicit Cannabis

The majority of Canadian consumers are still purchasing cannabis from unregulated sources according to a recent survey. Cannabis Retailer commissioned Caddle Insights to survey 8,899 Canadians in January 2024 on their cannabis purchasing habits.

Cannabis Purchases

24% of respondents purchased cannabis in the past three months, while 76% did not, up 1% from last month. Consistent with past survey results, 20% of women purchased cannabis compared to 27% of men.

The younger generations had the highest number of respondents that purchased cannabis in the past three months with millennials at 31% and Gen Z at 29%. This was closely followed by Gen X at 24%. The older generations had the lowest number of respondents that purchased cannabis with Greatest Gen at 9% and baby boomers at 15%.

Purchase Location

A sizeable number of Canadians are purchasing cannabis from seemingly unregulated sources. When asked where they purchase the majority of their cannabis products, 27.3% of respondents selected ‘Other’ sources. This was followed by licensed retail stores.

Government stores beat out private stores by a small margin with 25.2% of respondents purchasing cannabis at government stores compared to 22.6% at private stores.

Online shopping was not very popular among those surveyed. 7.9% of respondents purchased cannabis on private licensed retail websites, 7.7% on government websites, and 7.4% on licensed producer websites.

Location of cannabis purchases

Similar patterns were seen among men and women, but men purchased slightly more from private retail stores (23.5%) than government retail stores (22.8%).

When broken down by age group, Gen X had the highest number of respondents (31.0%) that purchased from ‘Other’ sources while Greatest Gen had the least at 0%.

Except Greatest Gen, all other age groups purchased more from government retail stores than private retail stores. Online purchases were popular among Greatest Gen, but only from government websites (27.6%).

Purchases by Age Group

This is a significant change in responses from when respondents were asked this question in April 2023. At that time, the majority of respondents purchased from a private retail store (24.7%), licensed retailer website (21.3%), government retail store (19.9%), or government website (18.3%) while only 5.2% selected ‘Other’ locations.

Terpenes Factor into Purchasing Decision

Respondents were asked about the importance of terpenes in their decision to purchase cannabis. The majority of respondents (31.1%) had a neutral response, although 26.3% said it was very important in their decision and 18.7% find it somewhat important.

Similar patterns were seen when broken down by gender with slightly more male respondents saying terpenes were very important (30.0%).

Importance of terpenes

Unsurprisingly, there was greater variation when responses were broken down by age group. With the exception of Gen Z, the majority of respondents in all age groups said they were neutral about terpenes in their purchasing decision. Gen Z placed the greatest importance on terpenes, while Gen X placed the least.

Importance of terpenes by age group

Caddle Insights posed this same question to respondents in January 2023 and there have been some notable changes in responses. Consumers have become more decisive over the past year. While the number of overall respondents who said terpenes was very important to their purchasing decision has remained the same, a year ago 21.1% said it was somewhat important compared 26.3% in 2024; and 38% were neutral compared to 31.1% in 2024. As well, 46% of women had a neutral response in 2023 compared to 33.9% in 2024.

CBD to THC Ratio

Most respondents (62%) consider the ratio of CBD to THC when purchasing cannabis products.

These results were consistent among genders and age group. 62% of women and 61% of men consider the ratio of CBD to THC. Greatest Gen placed the highest importance on it (72%) while Gen Z placed the least (59%).

Craft Products Selection

Most consumers are very satisfied (33.2%) or satisfied (28.4%) with the selection of craft cannabis products in their local cannabis store.

Similar responses were seen among men and women and when broken down by age group.

Satisfaction with Selection of Craft Products

Comparatively, in November 2022, 33.20% said they were very satisfied while 39.8% said they were satisfied with the selection of craft cannabis products in their local store and only 9.1% didn’t know.

Tags: Boomers cannabis purchases (7), cannabis consumption (22), cannabis prices (17), consumer data (23), edibles purchases (2), Gen Z (17), illicit market (21), millennials (16), millennials cannabis consumer (6)