Three million new cannabis consumers are on the horizon for Legalization 2.0 — when commercial cannabis-infused edibles, beverages, concentrates and topicals become legal on Oct. 17 — according to a new cannabis consumer insights white paper from EY and Lift & Co.

Consumer branding is all about connecting with the customer, and licence holders and retailers need the right metrics to understand who your customers are and what they value. Based on surveys of nearly 3,000 individuals across Canada, including engaged consumers, anticipated new consumers and budtenders, the white paper explores consumer segmentations and their preferences, and views on current and future products.

Highlights from the report include:

Consumer insights: Cannabis literacy and awareness in Canada is low among non-consumers. Budtender education, such as the mandatory CannSell Standard Certification in Ontario, should be a key component of the customer acquisition strategy.

Product insights: Current consumers are price sensitive, and want premium quality to match what they spend. On the other hand, prospective consumers say they’re more concerned about efficacy: more than 80% of non-consumers say intended effects (89%), recommendations from health practitioners (85%) and clinical research supporting the medical benefits of cannabis (83%) are the most important factors when considering whether to purchase cannabis products.

Purchase influencers: Budtenders, physicians and third-party publications play a pivotal role in the purchasing journey — 70% of customers reported not knowing what they were going to purchase before entering a cannabis retail store.

Brand ranking results: Are brands missing the mark because of a lack of education, or is the product not meeting market demands?

A significant amount of information can be collected through consumer feedback, retailer insight and point-of-sale data. This information can be used to help cannabis companies understand consumer patterns, impacts of price changes, responses to new product offerings, and reactions to messaging and marketing efforts.

Having the right data allows companies to continually innovate, create value for consumers and build loyalty. To learn more, download the white paper and check out Cohesion, Lift & Co.’s upcoming all-encompassing scorecard to monitor and analyze your cannabis brand’s performance.

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