Broad CBD Applications Can Drive Growth in Europe

By Molly McCann, Senior Manager, Industry Analytics, New Frontier Data

Though Europe’s CBD market remains nascent, widespread interest and the diversity of consumers’ reasons for using cannabidiol promise to drive strong growth in the industry — but only if CBD products become more widely accessible, and potential consumers continue to learn about the applications and efficacy of the cannabinoid.

The content presented here is detailed further in New Frontier Data’s upcoming report, The E.U. CBD Consumer Report: 2019 Overview, the first of a series on the topic. The first summary describes the findings from a survey of Europeans’ respective views, uses, preferences, and spending for CBD, and compares eight regional consumer markets within Europe.

The European CBD market is still new.

The region has modest CBD use rates, with a survey fielded in late October 2019 finding that 16% of respondents had ever tried CBD, with 14% having done so in the previous six months. Perhaps most significant was how many consumers had first tried CBD recently; more than one-third (34%) first consumed it in the three months preceding the survey, and more than one in eight (13%) first tried it in the immediately preceding month.

The market is poised for strong growth.

Total consumption of CBD looks likely to increase, driven both by current consumers and those having yet to try it. More than two in five (41%) reportedly current CBD consumers expected the amount of CBD they consume to increase in the next six months, while about one-tenth (11%) expected the amount they consume to decrease. Given that timeframe, a segment of new consumers will make their first purchases and have their first experiences: 18% of those having not yet tried CBD said they were likely to do so within the following six months.

Growth in the sector will be driven by a range of applications and motives. Europeans who were currently consuming CBD expressed a wide range of reasons for doing so, from pain management and other medical conditions, to reducing stress and assisting with sleep, and improving general wellness and enhancing mood. The diverse motives for use are not unique to individual consumers, but number among different use cases among several consumers. A majority (59%) listed multiple reasons for consuming CBD, with 19% identifying five or more reasons for their CBD use.

Successful growth will depend on two factors.

For sustained growth, consumers will need to appreciate CBD’s efficacy and broad applications. Both current and potential consumers were reportedly aware of some of CBD’s applications, namely for pain management, stress/anxiety reduction, and relaxation. Brands would be well advised to continue outreach and education about CBD’s various applications to leverage the broadest range of uses and growth potential for different applications.

Another key determinant for successful growth of the CBD market in Europe will be expanded access, particularly to those products forms most appealing to consumers. Survey respondents who said that they were likely to purchase CBD in the following six months (among both those who had or not yet purchased a CBD product) tended to express intent to purchase certain product types (see chart).

Source: New Frontier Data 2019 European CBD Survey

Europe’s CBD market is promising, and stakeholders should expect a period of consumer learning and experimentation before preferences settle and the market matures.