Ask Our Experts 12/15/19: CBD Market In The United Kingdom


Q: There has been a lot of news about the growing popularity of CBD globally. What does the market for CBD look like in the United Kingdom?

By New Frontier Data

A: CBD is experiencing a surge in attention, both in the United States and across the European Union. This is particularly true for the United Kingdom. Earlier this year, the Centre For Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) released a report on the consumption of CBD in the UK. As of June 2019, they found that roughly 8% – 11% of adults in the United Kingdom had tried a CBD product. Of those CBD consumers, the CMC found that a majority of consumers were purchasing CBD products online, rather than in pharmacies or other stores.

In New Frontier Data’s we examine the growth of the CBD sector across the E.U. Of particular note are our findings for the United Kingdom and Ireland. Respondents from the UK and Ireland had the greatest awareness of CBD among all countries surveyed, with 78% saying that they have heard of the cannabinoid.

Additionally, respondents in the region generally supported the idea that CBD has health benefits. When asked whether they believe CBD has valid medical uses, 62% of respondents in the UK and Ireland agreed. Indeed, British and Irish respondents indicated some of the highest levels of support for the medical efficacy of CBD among all European regions surveyed.

Despite its having solid name recognition and a positive perception across the UK and Ireland, only a fraction of those surveyed have actually tried CBD or CBD products. Among respondents in the UK and Ireland, 14% reported that they have tried CBD. This is slightly below the overall European average of 16%. Nevertheless, 24% of CBD consumers in the UK and Ireland first tried it within the previous three months, suggesting that while use rates are currently somewhat low, they have been rapidly increasing over the second half of 2019. This enthusiasm does not appear to be waning as 20% of those who had not yet tried CBD said that they were likely to try it in the next six months.

Among consumers of CBD across the UK and Ireland, 50% said they use CBD products at least once a day. This is almost double the European average (29%) of CBD consumers who report using it daily. We also asked consumers about their sources for CBD products. Our findings agree with those of the CMC report that consumers in the United Kingdom and Ireland are utilizing brick and mortar retail establishments at considerably lower rates than online sources. The top retail sources for CBD products in the UK and Ireland were online (specialty stores 33% and major online retailers 29%). Only 11% of consumers purchased CBD from pharmacies and 8% from grocery stores.

This is a market that is demonstrating rapid expansion and high levels of awareness and interest among consumers for CBD and CBD products. For this growth to continue, CBD brands will need to continue consumer education and outreach to clarify the benefits of CBD and further differentiate it from other cannabis-derived products.

The European CBD Consumer Report is part of New Frontier Data’s ongoing series of CBD-focused research projects examining the marketplace in the United States and globally to provide in-depth insights to the growing segment of the cannabis industry. New Frontier Data’s recent report, Cannabis Consumer CBD Use, provides a detailed overview of CBD use, attitudes, and purchasing behaviors among U.S. cannabis consumers.