European CBD Market Report

Here’s the most detailed CBD market report for Europe 2019. After the United States, Europe with its 512 million potential consumers is the second biggest market in the world for CBD products. New Frontier Data has published The EU CBD Consumer Report: 2019. The study explores CBD perceptions, availability, adoption drivers, and consumption behaviors.

The online survey was administered in 17 countries across the European continent on 3,100 people between 18 and 98 years-old. The sample has included 53% male, 46% female, and 1% other or not gender specified participants.

CBD Market Report: High Awareness and New Consumers

The results show that the awareness of CBD among European consumers is relatively high. More than half of respondents (56%) had heard of CBD. Its usage is significantly lower, with 16% reporting having used CBD or CBD products. A majority (58%) of those who reported having used CBD said they first tried it in the preceding six months, shows this CBD market report.

The most frequently indicated reason for using CBD was pain management (40%), followed closely by relaxation (34%) and stress relief (31%). Three-quarters of respondents (74%) who have used CBD reported that it has had a positive impact on their quality of life. The overwhelming majority (87%) indicated that CBD had not displaced any of their medications.

There remains a lack of clarity among consumers about the nature of CBD and the differences between it and high-THC cannabis. More than half of the respondents (53%) either believed that CBD consumption gets the user high (25%), or were unsure whether it does (28%). Nevertheless, CBD enjoys broadly positive public perception, with nearly half of survey respondents reporting that they had a positive impression of CBD (46%) and a minority (15%) expressing a negative impression.

Legal Attitudes & Regional Comparison

A majority (56%) believed that CBD consumers should have legal access to it. Approximately one-third (35%) said that CBD should be available to anyone with a doctor’s note or prescription, while an additional 21% supported its availability to any adult. Only 6% of survey respondents felt that CBD should be illegal. A majority supported standardization and regulation of CBD products, with 58% agreeing that its laboratory testing should be legally required.

The CBD market report also provides regional-level comparisons of eight individual countries or groups of countries – Switzerland & Austria, Benelux, Sweden & Denmark, The United Kingdom & Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain & Portugal, and France.

The findings show that the respondents from UK/Ireland were the likeliest to have heard of CBD (78%). Awareness was also high among Switzerland & Austria respondents (69%), and those from Benelux (69%). French respondents were the least likely to have heard of CBD (36%), significantly below the European average (56%).

Switzerland & Austria (33%), Benelux (25%), and Sweden & Denmark (20%) had the highest CBD use rates across the surveyed blocs, each exceeding the European average (16%). Again, France demonstrated the lowest rates of CBD usage (7%). Satisfaction was highest among consumers in Spain/Portugal (92%) and Italy (85%). As for the specific types of CBD products purchased, the consumers in Italy (85%) and France (84%) were the most satisfied.

Europeans broadly supported the idea that CBD has valid medical uses. Respondents in Ch/Aus (62%) and UK/Ire (62%) reported being the most supportive of CBD’s having valid medical uses. Even among the most skeptical of respondents (France at 46% and Italy at 45%), support for CBD as having valid medical applications approached the halfway mark. Close to half of respondents having not yet tried CBD in Ch/Aus (47%) or Benelux (42%) indicated that they would be likely to try CBD if it were offered to them by someone they trusted. Conversely, responses among the remaining regions surveyed dropped, with about a third of participants indicating a willingness to try CBD, and those in France (27%) being the least likely to try even if offered by a trusted person.

Oils and Tinctures Preferred

While more than half (56%) Europeans reported not knowing the difference between CBD and hemp oil, another 22% were unsure. Similarly underscoring confusion about CBD’s status, 30% of respondents expressed uncertainty whether it was legal for purchase or possession in their respective countries. Of the listed cannabinoids, European adults were most aware of CBD (51%) and THC (28%). Only 10% had heard of CBN, and all other cannabinoids rated in the low single digits.

Europeans appear to support the general availability of CBD; 35% said that it should be available to anyone with a doctor’s note or prescription while an additional 21% supported CBD’s availability to any adult.

Oils and tinctures (53%) ranked as the preferred means for Europeans’ consumption of CBD; pills and capsules (23%) are also common. Cannabis flower (17%) and vape pens (16%) round out the top four most common modes of consuming CBD. The small percentages reporting use of products ranging from massage oils and eye drops to transdermal patches and pet products highlights the breadth of interest in trying products in different forms.

CBD is reportedly most often consumed in the evening (46%), followed by the morning (31%). The most common serving size is less than 5 milligrams (29%). Nearly one-fifth (18%) of respondents were unaware of how much CBD they consume per serving.

Purchase Decision

Quality (75%) is the primary concern consumers reported about CBD products, followed closely by dosing accuracy (71%) and the presence of contaminants (70%). The legal status of CBD products (59%) and the presence of THC in those products (58%), while less important, remain significant concerns. Approximately half (48%) of the respondents indicated that such concerns impacted the frequency or doses at which they use CBD and the brands they purchase (51%).

One of the most commonly identified sources for CBD products is friends (35%), suggesting the persistence of an informal environment for procuring CBD, at least for newer consumers. Online specialty stores (29%), as well as major online retailers (22%), are popular sources for CBD, as are drug stores (23%).

The most cited CBD brands that European purchasers report buying include CBD Vital, Cannabigold, Nordic Oil, and Cannapower, though none of those was claimed by more than 10% of purchasers. The consumers show a high degree of brand loyalty, with 67% reporting that they always or usually purchase the same brands. The top three factors cited by respondents as being very important or important in deciding to purchase include price (81%), the amount of CBD per serving (75%), and the total amount of CBD in the product (74%). Factors identified as unimportant include label design (36%) and celebrity endorsement (32%).

CBD market report shows that most CBD purchasers report making either all (56%) or most (18%) of their CBD purchases in their own country; only 12% of respondents reported making most of their CBD purchases outside of their own country.

The majority of purchasers (63%) reported spending a monthly average of €99 (USD 109) or less on CBD products. Over the previous six months, 41% saw an increase in their spending.

Reviewed by Sasha Bajilo, founder of ILESOL Pharmaceuticals, an industrial scale producer of CBD products and formulations. Expert on Hemp/Cannabis policy, member of the Croatian Ministry of Health regulatory commission for medical cannabis.