The Consumer Perception of CBD in the UK
Jul 10 2020
CBD is fast becoming popular in the UK, but what does the general public think about it? In this article, we take a look at the current position of the CBD market in the UK, the misconceptions consumers still have, and the things that are most important to people when they are buying CBD products.
How popular is CBD in the UK?
When it comes to CBD in the UK, the data available indicates that it has definitely gone mainstream already. Research suggests that the market is worth far more than people initially thought, with the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis placing an estimate of £300 million on annual consumer spending on CBD in the UK. This is forecasted to hit £1 billion by 2025!
Two surveys conducted in May and June of 2019 found that between 8% and 11% of UK adults had tried CBD, which equals somewhere between 4 and 6 million people*.
According to another 2019 consumer survey, 63% of respondents in the UK had heard of CBD**. Of those who responded as current users, 73% had been using CBD for less than a year, which suggests that CBD is still relatively new to a lot of consumers. The survey also found that for every 1000 current regular users of CBD, there were 500 previous regular users who had stopped, showing a potential need to re-engage consumers.
Are there any common misconceptions?
Although there is no doubt that CBD is becoming more and more popular in the UK, there is still confusion among consumers around what it actually is and what it does.
A European consumer survey found that 25% of those surveyed still believed that CBD consumption will produce a high, while 28% weren’t certain whether it would produce a high or not. Additionally, 60% of those surveyed did not know whether CBD was legal in their market***.
It is hoped that with the March 2021 deadline set by the Food Standards Agency for CBD brands to have their novel food applications submitted, laws and regulations in the UK will become clearer. Hopefully, people will feel more reassured about the products that they are buying, as they will have to be approved and regulated.
What is important to consumers when buying CBD?
Since CBD is a fairly new phenomenon, and there are existing concerns and misconceptions about how it may affect people, and as well as its legality, consumers will find clarity, transparency and trustworthiness extremely important. That is why brands need to be open and honest about how their products are made and what ingredients are included.
Below are a few things that people will take into account when buying CBD:
Consumers want a product that is safe and works in the way that they expect it to. They will be aware that there might be lower-quality products on the market, so any evidence to show the quality of a product will be appreciated. One 2019 survey found that 75% of respondents gave quality as a purchase decision when choosing a product***.
The presence of THC may be a concern. Some may want to avoid THC completely and others will want to ensure that the product they are buying is legal and approved.
Traceability is also very important for consumers, because they want to know where ingredients have been sourced from and what is included in the end product. The same European consumer survey that found quality to be an important consumer decision concluded that 70% of consumers consider the presence of contaminants to be an important purchase decision***.
There is a wide range of CBD products available on the market, so price will definitely be taken into account by consumers when they are selecting a product. While for some, a higher price tag is indicative of a quality product, others might not want to start out by buying the most expensive product. It’s all down to personal preference!
Many have spoken about the ‘interesting’ flavour of CBD, which is why some people will appreciate CBD infusions which include other tasty flavours, like a CBD botanical drink.
* Surveys by Dynata and YouGov.
** Figures used from 2019 consumer survey by CBD-intel.
*** The EU CBD Consumer Report: 2019 by New Frontier Data