The Increasing Importance of Female-Under-40 Consumers

Published September 14, 2022

Heavy consumers, those who consume cannabis weekly or more often, are increasingly important to the industry.  These consumers make up 49% of all cannabis consumers and approximately 90% of cannabis purchases across all channels by value. 

For the first few years post legalization, heavy cannabis consumers were disproportionally male under the age of 50.  Specifically, males 30-49 were among the most likely to be heavy cannabis consumers, accounting for approximately 1 in 5 of all people who consume weekly or more frequently.  The demographic makeup of the heavy user population hasn’t changed substantially over the past few years, although there are some material trends that have emerged in 2022.

Heavy users continue to skew disproportionately younger, with 55% of this group being made up of people under 40 (vs 36% of M&L users).  However, males under 40 have decreased in significance in terms of making up the heavy user group.  Over the last year, females under 40 have surpassed others as the largest contributor to the total heavy user population.

Proportion of all heavy users by demographic group (age + gender, R3M)

Cannatrack, n= 102,101 Canadians, April 2019 to July 2022

With the increased presence of physical legal stores and convenience of online shopping, safety is a decreasing concern for women and older consumers of cannabis.  Historically for each of the demographic groups, the proportion of cannabis consumers who never purchased cannabis themselves was quite high (35-45%).  Now, across all demographics, these rates have dropped dramatically to 15-25% as legalization provided increased convenience and safety.

With the rise of Females Under 40 representing heavy consumers, there is one group in particular contributing to the increased importance.  Females aged 35-39 are driving a significant spend on cannabis, averaging x3.6 more per year on cannabis than the overall cannabis consumer, and x1.7 more than the average Heavy consumer.  More than half of Heavy-consuming Females aged 35-39 are daily consumers and purchase more often than the average heavy consumer.

Cannatrack, n=14,925 Canadians, January 2022 to July 2022

There is a lot we can investigate to further understand this important consumer group and ensure your marketing efforts are reaching them.

  • Why and when do they consume?  Females aged 35-39 who are heavy users are most likely to consume cannabis to start the day and to watch TV (other than sports).  For this key group, the top reasons to consume are to relax, because they like the cerebral effects/being high, and because it was offered/someone else was doing it. 

  • Where do they consume?  Females aged 35-39 are more likely to consume in larger groups (14% of occasions vs 3% of other heavy users) and with their partner (38% of occasions).  This key demographic is most prominently located in Quebec, followed by Ontario, and is disproportionately not from larger cities of 1 million or more, but rather 100k-900k cities such as Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Oshawa, Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivieres. 

  • What do they consume?  Contact us to find out if these consumers favour your brand!

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