A new survey has found that cannabis consumers are changing their habits to adapt to inflationary pressures, with more than a third saying they are buying less expensive marijuana to help cope with rising prices. The new “Cannabis Consumer Insights Holiday Poll,” which was commissioned by Jushi Holdings Inc., a vertically integrated, multi-state cannabis operator, also found that despite inflation, few consumers are smoking less pot.
“Our independently conducted poll shows that even with mounting inflationary pressures and cost-saving behaviours on the rise, demand for cannabis remains very resilient,” Jim Cacioppo, CEO and founder of Jushi, said in a statement from the company. “In fact, we found customers are actually consuming the same or more than they were a year ago – they’re just purchasing less expensive alternatives to compensate for the rising cost of living. We believe staying on top of the latest consumer behaviour trends will make our brands, products and digital and physical retail experiences more relevant as we continue to focus on our profitability and performance.”
Poll Surveyed 1,000 Cannabis Consumers
The national survey, which was independently conducted by Pollfish and commissioned and overseen by Julian Scaff, Jushi experience director and associate professor at ArtCenter College of Design, surveyed 1,000 cannabis consumers from U.S. states that have legalised recreational marijuana sales for adults 21 years and older. The poll showed that 63% of respondents said that inflation is either painful or very painful. But despite the inflationary pressure on their budgets, a majority of cannabis consumers said that they are consuming more or about the same amount of cannabis as they were a year ago. When asked “how much cannabis are you consuming compared to a year ago,” about a quarter (24%) of respondents said they are consuming more than last year, while the majority (52%) are consuming about the same amount of weed as last year.
The poll showed that 63% of respondents said that inflation is either painful or very painful.
In last year’s poll, branding and strain type were significantly more important to cannabis consumers. Today, cannabis consumers are showing less brand loyalty, increasingly shopping around to save money. Some respondents said they are purchasing less expensive alternatives in order to maintain consumption levels while reducing the overall cost of cannabis. More than a third (39%) of participants stated they purchased less expensive cannabis products this year compared to last year.
However, when asked “how much are you spending on cannabis compared to a year ago,” 73% stated that they are actually spending more or about the same. When asked “how much do you typically spend per month on cannabis a month,” 35% said they spend $50 to $100 a month, while 23% said they were spending. $100 to $150. More than 14% said their monthly cannabis purchases totaled $150 to $200, and 12% said they spent more than $200 each month.
Consumers Want Potent Weed At An Affordable Price
Compared to last year, cannabis consumers are increasingly selecting products based on two primary factors: THC potency and price. The type of strain (indica, hybrid or sativa) placed a distant third. Last year, branding and strain type were significantly more important to customers than this year, and customers are increasingly shopping around more as a cost-saving measure. When asked the two most important factors in choosing a cannabis product, 60% selected THC level—a 9% increase from the previous year—and 58% said price.
Dried cannabis flower gained more market share as the favourite type of cannabis product among consumers, while pre-rolled joints, marijuana edibles, tablets, tinctures and drinks all declined. Jushi noted that the trend may in part be price-driven, as manufactured products are typically more expensive than marijuana flowers.
The number of people planning to use cannabis as part of holiday celebrations increased slightly, showing a sustaining trend year-over-year. When asked “do you plan to use cannabis as part of your holiday celebrations this year,” 92% of cannabis consumers stated yes, a 1% increase from the year prior. Approximately 88% of poll respondents stated they would be more likely to purchase cannabis or related products as holiday gifts if cannabis was federally legal, showing virtually no change from the previous year.
For the second year in a row, the poll showed cannabis consumers are consuming less alcohol year-over-year. When asked “how has using cannabis impacted your consumption of alcohol,” 29% of respondents stated that with cannabis they are drinking less, a 6% uptick from 2021. The number of people reducing or eliminating alcohol use due to cannabis consumption also saw a 12% increase year-over-year, while 21% reported stopping consuming alcohol altogether.