Hemp CBD Consumer Profile

Hemp CBD is currently in the growth stage of its product life cycle as it emerges from murky legal territory and continues to gain popularity and recognition among a larger and larger consumer pool, making the market all the more attractive and promising for investors, established companies and new entrants of all sizes, from distributors and producers, to packagers and major CPG manufacturers.

However, the rapid growth and evolution of the hemp CBD market can make identifying a target consumer segment a challenging task. The ability to accurately identify and understand potential clients will have a profound impact on companies’ success in this industry, determining their ability to capture a portion of its vast growth potential.

Brightfield Group surveyed over 3,500 hemp CBD consumers throughout the United States in 2019 to help define and characterize the demographic and psychographic features and tendencies of the various consumers in this market. This data is synthesized below to help those interested in breaking into the market, as well as those looking to sustain and keep their product lines current, to effectively understand, target, and satisfy the needs and preferences of today’s hemp CBD consumer.

Consumer Demographics


The 2019 data shows that U.S. CBD users skew more female (69%) which is similar to 2018 (66%). Women are using CBD slightly more frequently than in 2018. Among women, 29% are using CBD 5+ times per week in 2019, compared to 28% in 2018. Among men, 25% are using CBD 5+ times per week in 2019, compared 28% in 2018.

Marital Status, Family, and Sexuality

Of the men and women who indicate they use CBD, 44% (down from 49% in 2018) are married and 67% have children, with 47% having children in the household. The legalization of hemp and decrease in stigmas has clearly broken down the barriers for many family-oriented consumers. The vast majority (89%) of users are heterosexual.

Household Income

Similar to what was seen in 2018, CBD users, in general, have mid- to high-income with 59% earning more than $40,000 per year versus only 12% who earn less than $20,000 per year. The tendency for higher-income consumers to gravitate toward hemp may be related to its current price point. These users’ considerable disposable income may give them more liberty to purchase and sample hemp CBD products, many of which are pricey (e.g., tinctures which typically run $50-70 USD per bottle), without being held back by the same budgetary concerns experienced by lower-income consumers.


Hemp CBD users are more likely to have a higher education degree with 58% having either an associates or college degree. Instead of the old stereotype of lazy “stoners” “getting high”, the new narrative surrounding these CBD consumers is about health-conscious consumers turning to an alternative method to relieve pain and anxiety.

Age Groups of Note

Although cannabis has often been associated with the young - who still make up a significant portion of the hemp CBD market - hemp products are appealing to older generations as well. The age group 56-79 accounted for 20% of all users surveyed in 2019.

Ages 21 to 35 | Millennials

This consumer group accounts for 37% of users and is mostly Caucasian. The majority are single, heterosexual females with most (59%) not having any children. 57% have a household income of $40,000+ and 55% have a college degree (bachelor or associates). Many Millennials are looking to relieve the everyday pressures and stresses of work and school, with anxiety (72%) thee top reason for CBD use among Millennials. Some other reasons for use include chronic pain (33%), depression (28%) and insomnia (24%). Most just started using CBD in the past 6 months (58%) - likely a reflection of its increasing societal acceptance. Many Millennials use multiple forms of CBD, but the most popular form is oil cartridges (34%) followed by edible candy/gummies (24%), and skincare products (21%).

32% use CBD only a few times per year while 24% use it 5+ times per week. Another 13% use it 2-4 days per week and 11% use it weekly. The most popular dosage level among these consumers is 21-50mg (32.4%) while 25% of millennials use lower dose (0-20mg) and 27% use higher dose (51-100mg) products.

Ages 56+ | Baby Boomers

This demographic uses hemp CBD for similar health conditions as their younger counterparts, with one major addition: chronic pain, which leads 62% of these users to seek relief from hemp-derived CBD. Anxiety and insomnia are still significant aliments in this group, with 46% and 27% respectively, using hemp CBD to treat these conditions. Chronic pain and insomnia appear to stem from the effects of age, rather than the daily stresses of work and school experienced by Millennials (though these are no doubt a factor as well, in many cases). Unlike Millennials whose preferred CBD format is vaping (oil cartridges), Boomers prefer tinctures (30%), followed by topicals (24%), and edible gummies (17%).

Consumer Motivations

Understanding the motives behind hemp CBD use is a critical component to successful product positioning, and the analysis below provides insight into what drives consumers to explore and continue to purchase certain hemp CBD products.

Medical Ailments

63% of hemp CBD users are seeking relief from anxiety, while 45% take hemp CBD to cope with chronic pain, 27% use hemp to help with insomnia, and 26% use these products to help with depression. This data shows a much higher usage for anxiety than in 2018 and a decreased usage for chronic pain. It is important to note that these medical conditions do not happen in a vacuum, thus many respondents likely use CBD to relieve more than one condition.


Note that this medical condition information, in combination with usage frequency data (see Patterns of Use), illustrate that users may not yet be properly informed of the full array of positive effects of hemp CBD products or their ideal, correct dosage. For example, the intent behind CBD use in many cases – as can be seen here – is to relieve chronic or long-term conditions, which may require daily (or even greater than once daily) use. However, while 45% of consumers are looking to relieve chronic pain, only 28% are using CBD daily.

As insufficient reliable research has been performed and made available, and physicians and pharmacists are largely uncomfortable delving into the intricacies of hemp CBD dosing, patients do not currently appear to have the information they need. However, consumers will be able to attain better information and improved relief as the 2018 Farm Bill has paved the way for increased research and development. This will also encourage consumers to make larger purchases, as their intake will likely need to be more frequent to attain proper relief.

Patterns of Use

 Frequency of Use

About 43% of CBD consumers use CBD at least two times per week which is slightly up from 2018. Over a quarter are very heavy users (28%) and consume CBD 5+ times per week. Just under a third of users (30%) are very light users and only consume only a few times a year. Among chronic pain sufferers, only 28% are taking CBD daily to treat their symptoms, which may not be enough to manage chronic, long-term conditions.

Usage History

Looking at all hemp CBD users, the majority (57%) are relatively new to the market, meaning they have been using hemp CBD products for less than 6 months. Only 3% have been using CBD products for greater than 5 years.

Word of mouth is fueling the popularity and growth of CBD. Nearly 50% of current users heard about hemp CBD products from family or friends. 11% of CBD users were referred to the product by doctors. The news media is another large source with 10% having heard about CBD in this way. Word-of-mouth referrals have gotten a great deal of traction because companies currently in the market have so few advertising options at their disposal and have all grown in a grassroots fashion.

Even with the passage of the Farm Bill and subsequent legalization of hemp CBD, there are still many limits on advertising. Advertising of CBD is not currently allowed on Google and Twitter, and only topical hemp CBD brands are allowed on Facebook. As a result, hemp CBD companies are continuing to rely on influencer marketing as well as other avenues such as radio, podcasts, and outdoor billboards. Furthermore, marketing efforts focused specifically on doctors will lead to increased knowledge among those with chronic conditions, resulting in more frequent usage among those seeking improved relief.

Consumption Methods

As is discussed in greater depth in the Product Type Analysis, there are a plethora of hemp CBD consumption methods available, and many consumers use more than one type of CBD product. The form factor used most frequently by general CBD users is oil cartridges/vaping (25%), followed by tinctures (24%), topicals (23%), gummies (22%) and skincare (16%).


The number of CBD users who spend less than $75 is much higher than those that spend over $75. The $31 to $50 price range was the most popular, with 23% of hemp CBD users stating that they spent this amount. Only 3% of hemp CBD users stated that they spent $101+.

With the legalization of hemp CBD, it is expected that the market will evolve and split into separate segments, with a nutraceutical segment offering a reasonably-priced range of products for the average-to-wealthy consumer, targeted at those shopping at their local supermarket, convenience store, etc. as well as pharmaceutical segment, with higher price points and specifically formulated for patients suffering from certain conditions, to be sold at pharmacies and doctors’ offices. If this is the case, the price of most nutraceutical products will likely be driven down (due to increased competition, economies of scale, and the budget of the average consumer), and specialized medical products will likely become more sophisticated and expensive.

Comparison to CBD + Cannabis Users

Many CBD users are also cannabis users. However, they differ from the typical CBD only users in that they are equally likely to be married or single and they are also equally likely to be male or female. They are less likely than the CBD-only user to have children (59%). CBD + cannabis users are similar to the CBD user in that the majority are Caucasian and heterosexual. When it comes to education and income, CBD + cannabis users are slightly less likely to be college educated (55%) and have slightly lower income levels. 57% of CBD + cannabis users have mid- to high-incomes earning more than $40,000 per year (compared to 59% of CBD only users), and 15% of them earn less than $20,000 per year (compared to 12% of CBD only users).

There is equal distribution among the various age groups with those in the 26-35 age group being the most prevalent. The 21-25 and 36-40 age groups are also high, making the CBD + cannabis user most likely in the 21-40 age group.

When looking at CBD usage, 61% started using CBD in the past year while 10% have been using for 5+ years. CBD + cannabis users consumer CBD more frequently than CBD-only users. 38% using 5+ times per week (compared to 28% of CBD only users) and only 17% use a few times per year (compared to 30% of CBD only users). Oil cartridges (41%) are the CBD method of choice which is similar to CBD-only users. Interestingly, the next most popular form factors are pre-rolls (31%), gummies (28.3%) and edible baked goods (27.5%). Being a cannabis user, it is understandable that their choice of CBD products is more closely aligned with popular ways to consume cannabis.

CBD + cannabis users also prefer a higher dose of CBD with 30% saying they use 51-100mg, compared to 24% of CBD only users. They are treating the same types of ailments as the CBD only user with anxiety (63%) being the top and chronic pain, insomnia, and depression following.

In terms of spending, CBD + cannabis users show similar behavior to CBD-only users in the range of $50 or under. However, when it comes to spending in the $51 to $100 range, CBD-only users are outpacing CBD + cannabis users. 13% of CBD only users reported spending $51 to $75 on CBD, compared to 10%. At the other end of the spectrum, 3% of CBD + cannabis users reported spending $151 on CBD, compared to only 1% of CBD only users. The majority of CBD + cannabis users are purchasing CBD at a dispensary or a recreational shop (56%) or smoke shop (20%), compared to CBD only users who are buying CBD online (33%) and dispensary or recreational shop (27%).