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NEW YORK–()–ICR, a leading strategic communications and advisory firm, and Spectacle Strategy, a creative strategy consultancy specializing in branding, consumer insights, innovation and customer experience, released today the firms’ co-authored research report, “The 2020 Cannabis Consumer,” which provides an extensive look at contemporary cannabis consumers in legalized markets across the U.S., including current consumption trends, product preferences and purchasing habits. The report delivers new and unique insights on cannabis consumer shopping behavior, including potential whitespace opportunities for brands, and is based on nationwide primary research conducted by the two firms.

In addition to cannabis user demographics, attitudes and usage data, The 2020 Cannabis Consumer report identifies five of the largest macro-trends that will influence the future growth and success of the industry:

  • The Social Stigma of Cannabis
  • Cannabis’ Impact on Alcohol and Adjacent Categories
  • Cannabis and the Political Cycle
  • Cannabis and the Female Consumer
  • The Brand Opportunity

As discussed in the upfront of the report, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted cannabis’ role as an “essential business,” cementing the industry in the public sphere as a critical contributor to health and wellness, both for medicinal and recreational purposes, as well as a source of revenue for states and municipalities navigating through economic challenges in the pandemic’s wake.

“While the cannabis industry continues to evolve, it also remains fragmented, which has resulted in limited data on consumer consumption trends. Our study was designed to better understand the modern cannabis consumer and factors that influence their consumption behaviors,” said Tim Streeb, Senior Vice President at ICR. “With public and private cannabis operators of all types placing their bets on innovation and branding to unlock competitive advantage, it’s critical to have a detailed understanding of consumers, including their preferences and views toward issues that will shape the future of the legalized cannabis.”

Sample highlights from the report:

  • Social stigma remains the top (#1) reason cited by consumers as a barrier to cannabis usage; 73% of cannabis consumers identified stigma as the top barrier.
  • 84% of respondents feel that cannabis is safer than alcohol; 80% believe cannabis products are a safer alternative to prescription medication.
  • Cannabis is curbing alcohol usage as 1 in 3 users report drinking less than before legalization.
  • Brand is currently not a top driver of preference in the category today but represents a major opportunity for strategic advantage.

“In addition to other broad shifts, we see the cannabis market evolving from two polarities of medical or recreational usage to converge more around ‘general wellness’ reasons for usage – in fact, over half of consumers surveyed report using cannabis for both medical and recreational needs,” said Michael Filippi, CEO of Spectacle Strategy.

As basis for the report, ICR and Spectacle Strategy surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers on their attitudes toward and usage of THC and CBD products. All respondents were between ages 18–65; users of recreational or legal cannabis (purchased from a dispensary) at least two times per year; and did not work in advertising, PR, market research, financial services, cannabis retail, cannabis operations or alcohol production.

To download the free 65-page report, visit: spectaclestrategy.com/cannabis2020.

About ICR

Established in 1998, ICR partners with its clients to execute strategic communications and advisory programs that achieve business goals, build awareness and credibility, and enhance long-term enterprise value. The firm’s highly-differentiated service model, which pairs capital markets veterans with senior communications professionals, brings deep sector knowledge and relationships to more than 750 clients in approximately 20 industries. ICR’s healthcare practice operates under the Westwicke brand (www.westwicke.com). Today, ICR is one of the largest and most experienced independent communications and advisory firms in North America, maintaining offices in New York, Norwalk, Boston, Baltimore, San Francisco, San Diego and Beijing. Learn more at www.icrinc.com. Follow us on Twitter at @ICRPR.

ICR was recently ranked number one in the 2020 Green Market Report List of the Top 11 Most Effective Cannabis PR Firms.

About Spectacle Strategy

Spectacle is a creative strategy consul­tancy that helps clients grow smarter and faster through branding, consumer insights, and customer experience. With over 20 years of experience working with Fortune 500 incumbents, Spectacle was founded to create the consultancy that reflects the modern business climate where disruption is the new normal and agility is imperative. Spectacle focuses on growth-oriented clients and has advised global brands across technology, consumer packaged goods, alcoholic beverages, and health and well­ness space, and specializes in developing integrated strategies to help clients keep pace with evolving consumer demands.

Learn more at www.spectaclestrategy.com.

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