December 3rd, 2020
Germany is set to be one of the most lucrative cannabis markets outside of North America, owing in part to its huge purchasing power and progressive politics. Throughout the first half of 2020, well over €75 million worth of medical cannabis products were sold in the country to what Prohibition Partners estimates is a patient population of around 120,000. Patients and doctors can now rely on an increasingly stable and diverse supply of cannabis medications being available around the country. Support for legalisation of recreational cannabis has never been higher in Germany, with a majority of the general public, physicians and those in parliament supporting full legalisation at least on a trial basis. In the context of this expanding market, knowledge of the patients and consumers will be a key component of any market entry strategy.
Now for the first time, the Germany Cannabis and CBD Consumer Report offers readers an in-depth understanding of those people who use cannabis and CBD in this most promising market. To better understand the patients and consumers in Germany, Prohibition Partners have deployed a survey of over 2,000 people in Germany, examining their consumption habits and opinions on CBD and cannabis. This report will serve as a base of knowledge for anyone whose business it is to know the German consumer of cannabis and CBD: who they are, where they are, what products they need, how much they need and why they need them.
Who are the consumers of cannabis and CBD in Germany?
As regulatory hurdles are lowered and more companies are allowed access to the markets, and more patients to their medicines, those who will be able to establish their place in the value chain will be those who understand the target market inside out. Before this survey, little has been known about users of cannabis and CBD and many questions were unanswered such as who are they, what age are they, where do they live and what products do they need?
Base: 715 adults aged 18-66 who have used cannabis or CBD in the last 12 months
The patients and users of CBD, and cannabis for medical and recreational purposes form clearly distinct groups in demographics, geographics and consumptions habits. Over 75% of consumers make purchases in just one of these three categories rather than a combination. Amongst the consumers of CBD and cannabis for recreational and medical purposes, there are also diverse sets of consumers with a wide range of preferences, meaning that marketing of products will benefit from being tailored to these various groups.
What do consumers want?
Respondents were asked: “In what format do you/ would you consume cannabis, CBD or products infused with CBD or hemp?”
The preferences of cannabis and CBD consumers varies considerably both across and within categories. Cannabis for recreational purposes is most often tied to preferences for inhalable formats. This is likely due to the quick onset of effects achievable through inhalation. Users of cannabis for medical purposes clearly favour capsules and pills. This demonstrates that German patients are interested in dosage forms which are familiar in the medical setting, and represent the precision and accuracy of modern medicine. While flower is still the single most popular format being purchased by patients in Germany as reported by the GKV, our data indicates that patients are also increasingly interested in the more recognisably medicinal pill and capsule format. The most popular format for consumption of CBD is in oil format, likely due to consumer familiarity with this format for products marketed as supplements.
The German cannabis and CBD markets have exhibited considerable growth in recent years. As the industry becomes more established, new issues are arising for companies. In the arena of CBD, the most pressing question is that of CBD and novel food applications. Many producers are waiting to see whether their products will be approved as food products in the wake of the EU Court of Justice Ruling that CBD is not a narcotic (and is therefore marketable as a food product). In the arena of medical cannabis, producers and distributors should be thinking about how they can differentiate themselves in what is now becoming a highly competitive market with many players seeking to find a niche in the supply chain. Recreational cannabis is still illegal in Germany and decriminalised in some places, but there is hope that progressive reform could be seen in coming years. Proposed trials of legalised recreational cannabis supply such as those proposed for Bremen, Thuringia and Berlin could set benchmarks for the rest of the country in proving the viability of these policies in protecting consumers and bringing in considerable taxable revenues.
For more analyses on the German market and the current and future trends in consumer habits, see the new German Cannabis and CBD Consumer Report.