November 25, 2019

Key insights from The New Normal Report

3min read

The New Normal Report: Signs of the Times’ launched yesterday, in association with Protein Agency, an exploratory report documenting the rise of cannabis and CBD products across a number of key markets.

Stephen Murphy – Group Managing Director

Alex Beadle, Content Writer

The New Normal Report: documenting the rise of CBD

The New Normal Report: Signs of the Times’ launched yesterday, in association with Protein Agency, an exploratory report documenting the rise of cannabis and CBD products across a number of key markets. The report takes a deep dive into how cannabis is disrupting beauty, sport, food and beverages, and showcases the brands that are connecting with consumers as societal attitudes towards the drug shift worldwide.

How CBD entered the mainstream

Previously heavily stigmatised for its close relation to the cannabis plant, the report notes that CBD has become more mainstream in recent years, mostly down to an improved body of medical knowledge on the non-intoxicating compound, and through effective communication of this knowledge to the wider public.
The report also details a number of other driving factors behind the normalisation and growing popularity of CBD. Today’s young people are drinking less, and using less hard drugs, than previous generations as the pressures of modern life put more focus on performance. In such a hyper-stimulating environment, younger consumers are looking for ways to relax and recuperate from modern burnout culture, without running the risk of a hangover affecting future performance. CBD and cannabis are filling this gap.

Young people are also creating more open and safe spaces to discuss mental health, sexuality, cannabis, and a number of other subjects considered taboo by previous generations, or controversial by those in positions of power. As these conversations open up, they encourage others to examine their own views and follow suit — decreasing the overall stigma surrounding these topics.

One other interesting trend identified by the report is the perceived rebranding of cannabis and cannabis-derived products, such as CBD, in order to access more mainstream consumer-goods markets. Brands are turning to more minimalist, sophisticated packaging designs, and away from the iconic green leaf imagery that was used so liberally by the counterculture movement that first embraced cannabis. In doing so, brands reach out to a different type of consumer – ones who are more aligned with the mainstream and help reframe cannabis as a remedy rather than a drug.

Forecasts from Prohibition Partners predict that the global CBD market will be worth up to US$2.1 billion by 2020, driven by the permeation of CBD into more mainstream markets. The rising accessibility of CBD also plays a role, as more countries elect to legalise CBD and other cannabis or hemp-derived products. Additionally, a general increase in consumer spending on natural wellness products will contribute to this growth, as CBD companies capitalise on the public’s understanding of CBD as an ‘all-natural’ product.

Key markets for CBD

The report pays particular attention to what it identifies as five key markets for CBD: beauty, wellness, lifestyle, food, and drink. Highlights from the report’s coverage of these markets include:

  • Cannabis products are being driven into the mainstream by a youth culture that questions big corporations and follows new ideals.
  • The global market for cannabis-based drinks is projected to grow rapidly, up to US$1.4 billion by 2024, from US$185 million in 2018.
  • Alcohol giants, such as Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors Brewing Co. are already investing millions in cannabis-infused non-alcoholic drinks, motivated by a drop off in the numbers of young people who drink alcohol.
  • Big-name beauty brands consider cannabis a high-risk venture, opening the door for new indie brands to gain a foothold in this traditionally high-end luxury sector.
  • With wellness consumers increasingly suffering from anxiety, CBD brands are marketing themselves as a solution to everyday stresses and pains.
  • CBD is being marketed to Gen Z consumers that rely on sport and exercise to maintain healthy lifestyles, reframing cannabis as a remedy rather than a drug.
  • The report also includes a number of interviews with industry leaders including Gossamer magazine, Broccoli Magazine, Minor Figures, Volteface and Daye.

The The New Normal Report is available to download and view in full, here.

Prohibition Partners are the world’s leading provider of market intelligence, business solutions and strategy for the emerging cannabis industry. Our data, insights and advisory services have helped to guide regulatory change, build successful brands and shape the future of medical cannabis across the globe, unlocking the commercial and societal potential of cannabis.

Protein Agency works with brands to develop effective strategies and campaigns that resonate with their audience. Protein Agency regularly publishes high-quality consumer research reports that examine the people and ideas that shape the way we think, work, and live.

Key insights from The New Normal Report

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