In this article, we’ll take you through the reasons why it’s not too late to get involved with the CBD market. The CBD industry has been booming since 2008, and is facing worldwide expansion as a constant influx of new products and businesses continues to create opportunities for brand owners and investors alike.
If you’re interested in the CBD industry, you’re not the only one. Over the past decade, interest in CBD (and the entire cannabis plant) has dramatically increased, with decades-old legislation being altered and relaxed in order to meet public demands for hemp-based supplements. Far from the seedy reputation of recreational cannabis and illegal drugs, the all-natural compound known as CBD is constantly highlighted in recent studies for its potential to impact symptoms of:
- Sleep issues
- Sexual issues
With such a widespread reputation and increasingly recognised potential for wellbeing, many people are curious to try CBD oil, edibles, vapes, or other products for themselves. The business-minded among you are probably wondering what CBD business opportunities are out there, while others are asking the question we’re here to answer: is it too late to tap into the CBD market?
The short answer is no. The CBD market is still growing, with many opportunities and niches undiscovered. While at first the primary products on the market were CBD oil, topicals, and infused foods, nowadays, everything from CBD suppositories to pet treats are readily available, with almost a third of transactions occurring online rather than via brick-and-mortar stores. Essentially, any product can be infused with CBD- which means there are still many opportunities within the ever-growing industry that are yet to be acknowledged by the broader market.
On the investment side of things, provided you put your money towards a trustworthy CBD company with a solid reputation, great products, and a good grasp on the needs and trends of the market, investing in CBD can be quite lucrative.
While past wellness trends have centred around weight loss and being intensely productive in order to perfectly ‘sculpt’ your body, CBD provides consumers with something increasingly valuable: a connection to nature. As we move towards a post-pandemic world, people are going forward with a healthy amount of self-reflection, leading to beliefs such as:
- Working too hard will lead to burning out, not material success
- Time in nature is more important than time spent on the couch
As a result of these changing attitudes, CBD is increasingly the talk of many towns (and cities) across the world. Within Europe, the UK seems to be leading the majority of market growth and demand, while across the pond, the US and Canadian markets are expanding- both in terms of demand and in terms of what is allowed by their respective regulations.
In this article, we’ll examine the main reasons why it isn’t too late to tap into this ever-increasing market, whether you’re thinking of investing in a company or starting a business all on your own.
The International CBD Market
There are many industries that CBD has conquered, such as:
- Food and beverage
- Health and wellness
- Beauty and skincare
- Pet food, treats, and other products
And many more! The wide-ranging possible applications of CBD mean that many business owners and investors with diverse industry experience are eager to dip their toes into the cannabis market.
The ever-shifting nature of the market can often make things complicated for those without previous business experience, particularly in light of constantly changing regulations set by organisations such as the FDA (in the United States) and MHRA (in the UK). Regulations can affect everything from the growth and distribution of CBD products to where they can be sold and how they can be formulated to begin with. Throughout Europe and the UK, CBD is only legal as long as the products are derived from industrial hemp and contain no more than 0.2% THC (the intoxicating compound found in cannabis).
With some sources predicting the CBD market will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 50% between 2021 and 2030, it’s worth looking at the world’s largest markets for CBD in a little more depth.
The UK CBD Market
Approximate market value: £690 million each year
In the UK, the CBD market is considered the largest in Europe, with one 2021 study even claiming that it is the second-largest in the world, behind the United States (which we will discuss shortly). The universities of Nottingham, King’s College London, and Aberdeen respectively all rank in the top 25 academic institutions when it comes to publishing cannabis-based research, making the UK prolific not just in terms of CBD consumption, but also paving the way with research.
The European CBD Market
Approximate market value: €403.4 billion
The recent expansion of the CBD market in Europe is primarily due to progressive regulations beginning to form across many countries throughout the EU- encouraging everyone from entrepreneurs to investors to get involved with the industry.
These relaxing regulations seem set to continue on their course, with Luxembourg announcing plans to legalise recreational cannabis (the first EU country to do so). Many believe that this may lead to similar policies becoming adopted throughout the rest of Europe, broadening the market further. While the stigma of recreational cannabis as an illegal drug may still hang over the heads of many CBD business owners and potential investors, the fact remains that such attitudes are becoming increasingly antiquated in the face of the ‘green wave’ sweeping across the world.
With a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 70% enabling the market to reach an expected value of €3.2 billion by 2025 alone (according to 2021 industry insights from Prohibition Partners), the European CBD market is undoubtedly one to watch in the coming years.
The Canadian CBD Market
Approximate market value: $2.6 billion
Canada is often credited with having one of the most progressive approaches to cannabis-related legislation, having legalised recreational cannabis back in October of 2018. A report by the Brightfield Group inspected the Canadian Cannabis Market as a whole. They found that in recent years, cannabis (and CBD) consumption has grown both online and via brick and mortar stores, as well as more competitive prices that were impossible to maintain in a pre-legalisation landscape.
Lower prices resulted in an increase in sales, while the increased consumer base seen within the Canadian cannabis industry has gone a long way towards lessening the controversy that previously surrounded the cannabis plant. With adult-use cannabis rising by over 100% in 2020 alone (and predicted to continue growing in subsequent years), it’s likely that the stigmas which once surrounded cannabis will melt away entirely for future generations.
The Canadian cannabis market has used the head start of their industry to focus on building an excellent global reputation for:
- Excellent product quality
- Consumer education, loyalty, diversity, and care
- Building well-known brands
Currently, many Canadian cannabis companies are looking towards expanding their business throughout the United States, and even across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom or Europe.
The US CBD Market
Approximate market value: $3.5 billion USD
Hemp production was legalised on a broader scale than previously imaginable back in 2018, when then-president Trump signed the Farm Bill. While the United States is widely credited with kick-starting the ‘CBD trend’ as far back as 2008 (when it was first commercialised in California and Colorado), cannabis as a substance still experiences a complicated relationship with federal law. Regulations for cannabis and CBD products can vary hugely from state to state, resulting in complications for investors and business owners across the country.
The 2014 Farm Bill legalised hemp (and by extension CBD) for research purposes, however, Trump’s 2018 amendment removed this caveat- ensuring there could be a future for commercial CBD (and, further down the line, other cannabis products).
In the present-day United States, CBD products are primarily regulated differently from state to state. Still, they are generally considered legal- provided it is derived from the hemp (Sativa) strain of the cannabis plant.
By now, you’ve likely realised that regulations are still in their infancy from a global perspective, meaning that we’ll likely see less of a ‘green wave’ and more of a green explosion when international shipping and commerce is allowed to begin in earnest.
With this in mind, let’s briefly look into what is perhaps the most significant factor behind the rapid expansion of the global CBD market: why people are buying it.
Why People Take CBD (and Love it!)
The driving force in any market will be rooted in public demand for the product- the CBD market is no different. People love CBD for three main reasons:
- It’s non-intoxicating, so it won’t make you ‘high’
- It has a broad range of potential health benefits
- Scientific studies are beginning to provide evidence supporting CBD’s efficacy
While the benefits of CBD may include anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety, as well as possible pain-relieving and sleep-improving qualities, without consumer trust in the CBD brand, no business is likely to succeed. Each of the above reasons why people take CBD is tied into the other:
- People become interested in CBD because it’s non-intoxicating and legal to try
- When they are educated about the potential effects of CBD, this interest peaks
- Studies (and other scientific evidence) provide a trustworthy basis to reinforce their interest, and enable customers to make the right purchases for their needs.
People take CBD to potentially impact their mood, sleep patterns, and general wellbeing. People of many age groups (primarily between 21-35) are trying CBD for a multitude of reasons. General trends show that younger groups prefer to use CBD for their mental health, while older groups use CBD for pain and inflammation symptoms.
Rather than an antiquated picture of a ‘stoner’ from the sixties touting tie-dye t-shirts and fringe jackets, the average CBD user could be anyone you know, from the old lady next door who suffers from arthritis to a university student struggling under academic pressures. This broad range of benefits for most age groups and demographics makes CBD an excellent investment- and certainly more than just a rising trend. In a world where 25% of the UK population struggles with mental health issues like anxiety, and 35-51% experience chronic pain symptoms, CBD’s reputation as a therapeutic supplement seems more in-demand than ever.
This is reflected in the constant broadening of the market, wherein more and more products are appearing infused with CBD than ever before- from bath bombs to condoms and pet treats! With big-name brands like Starbucks and Coca-Cola looking into creating new cannabis-derived products, the expansion of the CBD industry doesn’t seem likely to stop anytime soon.
Why It Isn’t Too Late to Tap Into the CBD Market
So, with all the above in mind, is it too late to invest in the CBD market, or start a CBD business? Absolutely not! Here are six reasons why now is a great time to get involved in the world of cannabis products- whether it’s by investing in stocks, starting a business, or partnering with an existing CBD brand.
- CBD is Legal (and Current Regulations are Relaxing!)
Across the UK, US, and much of Europe, CBD is legal. Not only this, but debates are fairly open regarding the use of cannabis as a whole for medicinal and recreational purposes. Most places have already approved of medical cannabis, with attitudes towards recreational use becoming more progressive as the industry develops.
The legalisation of CBD means that the compound is liable to continue expanding into other more prominent industries, such as:
- Food and beverages
- Pet products
And many others! Legalisation also enables the research of CBD, which in turn may open the door for more benefits and effects of the compound than previously considered. Further research will also reinforce the current efficacy of CBD, leading to improved consumer trust and repeat purchases.
Additionally, FDA-approved drugs derived from cannabis, such as Epidiolex, are often cited when considering the future of CBD legalisation. If CBD were to be similarly approved in a medical or pharmaceutical sense, it might carry implications for the treatment of symptoms of many conditions, such as epilepsy.
Research into CBD ensures customers learn vital knowledge that often leads to repeat conversions, such as:
- CBD is a legal, safe substance
- CBD may help with a range of health issues and symptoms
- CBD won’t get you ‘high’
- CBD is suitable for a wide range of people with many lifestyles
- Increasing Demand for CBD Products
One survey by Alphagreen, conducted on 5,000 consumers, highlighted the fact that almost eight million people were already using CBD in the UK alone- and that was just in 2020! Worldwide, many have started using CBD products for everything from their general wellbeing to specific health conditions. Other interesting figures from the survey include:
- 42% of UK adults use CBD for pain relief
- 21% use CBD for symptoms of insomnia
- 19% use CBD for anxiety symptoms
While eight million consumers may seem like a large amount to begin with, when you factor in the idea that almost 30 million people throughout the United Kingdom live with symptoms of chronic pain, the industry’s potential for growth seems very promising. Indeed, with a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.2% between now and 2028, the CBD industry’s growth reflects increased consumer demand for the compound.
It’s simple: as more customers learn about the benefits of CBD oil, many will be eager to try it and see if the compound may affect their wellbeing. As such, one primary duty for most CBD business owners is to educate their potential consumer base surrounding the truth about CBD and its effects. Once customers are adequately educated about the products, then they can choose the right type of CBD for them- from topicals to tinctures, full-spectrum to isolate.
As with many products within the wellness industry, while there is a demand for CBD, customers are also conscious of the quality of any compounds they’re ingesting or rubbing into their body. As such, many accept higher prices- as long as they receive premium CBD products in return!
- Other Industries Are Placing Stakes in the CBD Market
If you’ve ever shopped for CBD, you’ll know why other industries are so relevant to the CBD market. CBD is everywhere, infused into everything from shampoo to your favourite food. Sectors that are closely entwined with the state of CBD are:
- Cosmetics, beauty & skincare (valued at over 500 billion USD in 2018)
- Self-care and mindfulness (worth over 270 million USD in 2019)
- Exercise and fitness (over 75 billion USD in 2014)
- Food and beverage (almost 5,943 billion USD in 2019)
Many of these sectors have already grown, and show no signs of stopping anytime soon. By entwining CBD products with industries we already know are worthy investments, success is as certain as can be. Many CBD businesses have already figured this out, and have specialised in one kind of CBD product- whether it’s cosmetics or CBD mints.
CBD skin cream may soothe acne and tired muscles, while infusing the compound into your morning coffee can keep you calm through the caffeine buzz. It seems that, for every problem created by the modern world (sore muscles from hunching over a desk all day, anxiety from the general state of things, etc) CBD may present an answer.
CBD’s appeal as a natural plant compound, often grown organically, also eases marketing efforts- even as it breaks into new markets. Smaller niches of the CBD industry, such as CBD topicals and skincare, are still growing- and it’s worth looking into how businesses in any of the above markets associated with CBD are doing before investing in a specific business in any particular niche.
When other industries do well, the CBD businesses who are involved with them will see success- it’s that simple.
Additionally, it’s worth considering that CBD has only really been around in a commercial sense since the late 2000s. There are more products that may come to light as ‘cannapreneurs’ invest their time, energy, and creativity into exploring and creating new niches. While classic CBD oil generally remains the most popular product on the market, perhaps a new product no one has considered before will create an all-new ‘green wave’!
Steering away from the well-known qualities of CBD oil and into more niche products such as CBD coffee, tea, topicals, tinctures, and other products can help consumers see how CBD can fit into their daily routine. What’s more, with a never-ending amount of terpenes, flavours, scents, packaging, and other differentiating factors, it’s simple enough for CBD products to differentiate themselves from hemp-free competitors.
- CBD Comes With a Wide Target Market
CBD oil (and other associated products) can appeal to people of all ages, genders, occupations, and interests. While its efficacy still needs to be solidified in the scientific world, anecdotal evidence is providing consumers with an extensive range of potential effects and benefits of trying CBD. Throw in the clever marketing tactics many CBD brands are already using, and turning a curious customer into a CBD lover seems simple.
CBD appeals to a wide range of people: athletes will use CBD topicals for recovery and symptoms of muscle soreness, while office workers may use CBD to supplement a sore back or workplace anxiety. Busy housewives may place a drop or two into their morning coffee to potentially help them stay on track with the day’s itinerary- there’s really no known limit to what CBD can help the consumer with, making marketing to a wide target demographic a challenging (yet rewarding) task.
With this being said, who’s actually buying CBD? When we look at the figures, we see that:
- Somewhere between 8-11% of UK adults use CBD.
- All ages (over 18 or 21, depending on where you live) purchase CBD products. However, the majority of purchases are made by those under 35.
- Those with a higher education are more likely to buy CBD.
- Men and women purchase CBD relatively equally (though in the UK, it is mainly females who dominate the market).
- Older groups are more likely to use CBD for pain symptoms, while younger groups tend to use it as a supplement for their mental health and anxiety.
With such an all-encompassing target market, the CBD industry is able to appeal to a massive range of consumers, which makes for a substantial business opportunity if you’re looking to get involved with the CBD market, or invest in a hemp-based business.
- Most of the CBD Market Takes Place Online
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, industries around the world have had to adapt to increasingly-online markets, as brick-and-mortar stores are less and less viable. While this may seem like a bad thing (and for many industries, it is), the CBD market has made a remarkable recovery- pre-pandemic figures indicated that 27% of CBD purchases were made online, while many businesses never had brick-and-mortar stores to begin with.
The fact that so much of the CBD market takes place online is a massive strength, as many people also turn to Google to educate themselves about CBD in the first place. As a result, many CBD businesses are branching into SEO and content creation in order to educate their customers and establish themselves as authorities within their niche. While CBD is still making a name for itself as a legal commercial supplement, there is much opportunity to be found when it comes to cannabis-based education. For those with experience in content creation, tapping into the current CBD market could be an excellent move.
Recent data from Google Trends indicates a sustained interest in CBD over time- mainly from Canada, the UK, and Ireland. Social media platforms like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram have all seen CBD-related hashtags pop into existence (and cover the trending pages) despite guidelines forbidding paid advertisements for CBD brands. The online popularity of CBD may be seen as a testament to both consumer love for the compound and the power the internet has over this market.
- The CBD Market is Still Growing
As research continues to be done, and the risks associated with recreational marijuana are no longer associated with CBD oil, the time is right to invest in the CBD market- before it is too late!
There are still many new types of CBD products to be discovered, marketing breakthroughs to be made, stigma to diminish, and overly restrictive laws to be rewritten. We previously stated that the CAGR for the global CBD industry may be over 50% between now and 2030- and that growth is likely to continue far beyond this decade as new avenues continue to open for everyone’s favourite cannabis constituent.
By now, you know that it most certainly isn’t too late to tap into the CBD market– sales are far from stagnant, interest is greater than ever, and there are still developments to be made! In a world where wellness is increasingly synonymous with returning to nature and calming down for a mindful moment, CBD seems set to conquer the market. Suppose you have the business acumen, start-up capital, or interest in investing. In that case, you owe it to yourself to investigate all the latest CBD business opportunities the market has to offer!
Verified by a health professional
Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.