Marketing cannabis to women entails more than just marketing to women. More specifically, marketing to women means marketing to different kinds of women, and not pigeonholing almost half of cannabis consumers. A March 2019 report called “What Women Want in Cannabis” from Headset, found women make up 1/3 of the cannabis market (around 31%); previous reporting found a much wider gap between men and women who use cannabis. Creating authentic content that addresses specific concerns is key. For example, a CrossFit enthusiast may be looking for something related to wellness, while someone with impeccable home décor likes stylish packaging, and another is a community-minded entrepreneur. Diligence pays when striving to market cannabis to women.
Consider also the gaps in reporting when considering this demographic. Over 70% of women believe there is still stigma attached to using cannabis; this especially true among mothers. Therefore, the reported number of women users is likely skewed. Due to fear of judgment, 66% of female cannabis consumers reportedly hide their usage. Additionally, most cannabis consumer data only relates to the person purchasing. If a woman uses cannabis, but someone else purchases it for them, there is no way to track it.
Women often use cannabis for different reasons than men, therefore, they search for different things in a cannabis brand. Research and industry experience indicates that some women’s interests are in the wellness aspects of cannabis, the style of the individual product, and supporting women-run businesses. It is also noted women are more likely than men to try capsules, topicals, sublinguals, tinctures, and sprays. And women just enjoy products with THC. Period.
The Global Wellness Institute estimated in 2018 the global wellness market was worth $4.2 trillion and continues to grow steadily; women currently control about 85% of it. Areas of interest include the use of THC and CBD for relieving menstrual cramps, body and muscle pain, and sensitive skin. Anecdotally shown to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, cannabis and CBD skincare have helped with cramps, psoriasis, eczema and other issues. Some popular methods of delivery are bath bombs, lotions, and balms.
Curbing anxiety, promotion of good sleep, and sexual health are other wellness topics that are popular with women. Researchers at the Center for Sexual Health at Saint Louis University think cannabis and CBD can help women overcome pain and anxiety during sex. Deep, restful sleep has long been associated with cannabis use; benefits of healthy sleeping are reported consistently as essential for functioning at a high plane. Anxiety levels are at maximum peaks, and different age groups are increasingly turning to products for help.
Everyone has their own style and aesthetic which appeals to them. Moving beyond what has been traditional branding, brands like Van Der Pop offer modern designs aimed to readily blend into the consumer’s décor. Other examples are Saint Jane Beauty and Beboe, who package CBD oil with styles more similar to a high-end perfume bottle than a cannabis product. Displaying is often a consideration when women are choosing goods for their homes.
Discretion and sophistication are popular themes, as purchasers often identify with brands chosen. “Moms really love Beboe, because they recognize themselves in our products, and they aren’t ashamed to talk about them,” explains Beboe’s VP of Marketing Kiana Anvaripour. Keep in mind a study by Merkle and Levo which found a brand’s story has a huge impact on which companies women align themselves, with an impressive 47% of respondents claiming to know the origin story of their favorite brands.
Supporting Women-Run Businesses
The empowerment of other females doesn’t hurt either. Women are shattering the so-called “glass ceiling” and consumers of cannabis have more options to support women-run businesses. A 2017 survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily found women hold roughly 27% of executive roles in the cannabis industry. If counting purely ancillary cannabis businesses, the number jumps to approximately 42%. Likewise, another 35% of executive-level positions in cannabis dispensaries are held by women.
Success stories are empowering to customers, a feeling with which women often like to align. Here are two examples of women-owned businesses making waves in the cannabis industry: Her Highness and Kikoko. Read interviews with the founders here and here, respectively.
Ultimately, studies prove the numbers are behind women: according to the Harvard Business Review, women decide on the purchases of 94% of home furnishings, 51% of consumer electronics, 60% of automobiles, 91% of homes, and 92% of vacations. Worldwide, women make roughly $13 trillion in earnings and control around $20 trillion in consumer spending; women are a broader consumer market than both China and India combined. A considerable point from any industry’s marketing consideration standpoint.
Taking your cannabis, CBD, and hemp business seriously means taking marketing seriously. Learn tips, tricks, and meet connections to help with marketing at a CannaCon event in your area. Get your tickets today.