As more states legalize cannabis and companies try to court people’s curiosities, the nascent industry continues to see shifts in consumer behaviors.
Notably, medium-frequency cannabis consumers are gaining significant influence on the market, with the more-calculated class acting as case studies across form factors, according to New Frontier Data’s latest report, “Cannabis Consumers in America 2023 Part 2: Exploring the Archetypes.”
“While many brands are focused on the heaviest-using consumers, moderate consumers have unique attributes that make them attractive to companies developing novel and wellness-based delivery methods,” said Molly McCann, senior director of consumer insights at New Frontier Data.
Medium-Frequency Consumer Archetypes
The report identifies two archetypes in the medium-frequency segment:
- Modern Medicinals
- Engaged Explorers
Modern Medicinals, who make up 12% of consumers, primarily use cannabis medically. They favor non-smokable forms of cannabis such as edibles, vapes, tinctures, and topicals. A majority of Modern Medicinals obtain cannabis from regulated dispensaries and delivery services, which are reliable sources for non-flower products.
Engaged Explorers, on the other hand, comprising 9% of consumers, primarily use cannabis recreationally. They often use non-flower forms like vapes and edibles, while also occasionally smoking cannabis. Engaged Explorers are typically residents of adult-use markets with access to a wide range of products, and dispensaries are their leading source.
Medium-frequency consumers are becoming a more prominent market segment, with the Modern Medicinals and Engaged Explorers archetypes witnessing meaningful growth over the past year. These moderate consumers may not use cannabis as frequently as some other archetypes, but their participation in the legal market is substantial.
Moreover, Modern Medicinals and Engaged Explorers are the most reliable retail shoppers. They source primarily from legal cannabis retailers (dispensaries and delivery services), with 81% of Modern Medicinals and 82% of Engaged Explorers doing so, versus the average of 55% across all consumers.
“In both cases, these archetypes’ reliance on regulated sources is related to their preference for value-added product forms; regulated outlets generally offer notably higher quality and a wider selection of non-flower products,” McCann said.
The increased access to a broader range of products is steering the market towards developing novel and wellness-based delivery methods. And as more states continue to legalize, these medium-frequency consumer archetypes are set to shape the direction of companies’ R&D and offerings.