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CBD Use Among US Consumers – (Plus a little lesson about Diffusion of Innovation)

CBD Use Among US Consumers – (Plus a little lesson about Diffusion of Innovation)

The CBD market is new, and is therefore subject to the law of diffusion of innovation. This article explores why CBD is here to stay.

One of the very cool concepts in Sociology is that of “Diffusion of Innovation.” Basically, in aggregate, humans accept new ideas in very predictable ways. Some of us like new technology, and want to be on the leading edge all the time, while others are comfortable with our landline phones and wind-up watches. Any time that new things come along, whether they be technology, ideas, or products like CBD, the adoption of those things follows a very predictable pattern. The first group, called the “innovators,” try something, and if they give it the thumbs-up, the next group follows, then the next, and the next, until eventually, the vast majority of the population has adopted the new tech/idea/product. The chart below shows each group, and the rough percentage of the population that each represents. Innovators account for roughly 2.5% of the population. The next group to follow them are the early adopters, at about 13.5%. If they both adopt something, together they account for 16% of a given population. The gap between that 16% and the next group, the early majority, is called “the chasm.”

The law of diffusion of innovation says that if you can get past the “chasm” of approximately 16% of the population using a product, or adopting an idea, or technology, then that product/idea/technology will become mainstream. From there, the population fairly successfully adopts the innovation, and it becomes just part of daily life. And that brings us to our discussion about CBD.

A recent Gallop poll from August of 2019 showed that 14% of Americans are using CBD products. That indicates a few things. First, if you’re a CBD user, congratulations, you’re likely an innovator or early adopter, at least when it comes to things like wellness. Second, it means that when this poll was taken in August 2019, the United States population was super close to crossing “the chasm” into mainstream use. That certainly seems to be true, since in the last year it seems that CBD stores have popped up all over many cities and towns across the US. So that’s good news for the CBD industry. Of course the economic downturn certainly has hurt many, but if we can hold on a bit, the consumer demand for quality CBD is there.

Of course, the next questions is, “What are consumers looking for?” Well, the Gallop poll has some answers for us there too. This certainly seems to match some of our own customer feedback. Pain and anxiety relief, assistance with sleeping, etc. all figure in well with what we are told.

The US CBD market is growing, and despite some setbacks due to the economic downturn, it should be here to stay, given that “crossing the chasm” already occurred. The market projections for 2021 and beyond are encouraging. It is up to the small farms and producers to uphold the standard, and to show consumers why it is good to buy locally, and to know their farmer.

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