Convenience stores can’t take advantage of every trend that comes along, but when one promises to be a $2 billion opportunity by 2022 and could easily be stocked in c-stores, it’s time to pay attention.
CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, has been garnering considerable attention and consumer spend over the past few years. Increasingly popping up in things like oils, gummies, and vapes, CBD could also represent a significant opportunity for convenience stores.
Is It Legal for Convenience Stores to Sell CBD?
Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized products made from hemp as long as it contains less than .3% THC. The status of CBD, however, is a little murkier.
Some states have outright banned CBD, some allow it, and others consider it to be in legal limbo. But that’s not stopping major chains from jumping on the bandwagon, as both CVS and Walgreens have announced that they’ll be selling products containing CBD in stores across at least eight states.
The legality of selling CBD at a convenience store depends on the location’s state laws, but with CBD products rising in popularity, it’s likely that many of those laws will be changing over the next several years. It would benefit convenience stores to be ready.
Who Would Buy CBD from a Convenience Store?
Not surprisingly, CBD is largely being purchased by the trendsetting millennial generation, which extols its relaxation, sleep, and overall wellness benefits.
And though people over 50 are generally more suspicious of CBD and more likely to oppose it, there’s a growing percentage of this group that is purchasing CBD for relief of chronic pain. As CBD products become more prevalent, it’s reasonable to expect this percentage to grow.
The consumer demand is clear, as 20% of c-store customers have indicated that they would visit more often if CBD products were available. Meanwhile, 70% of the CBD market belongs to gummies, oils, and vape products, which are all perfect items for convenience stores to stock.
What’s the Future of CBD Products for Convenience Stores?
Companies have only begun experimenting with adding CBD to products, and the possibilities are nearly endless. Beyond gummies and vapes, CBD can now be found in beverages and it’s only a matter of time before CBD-enhanced baked goods, frozen goods, and condiments hit the market.
For convenience stores in particular, CBD snack items provide a major opportunity. Their grab-and-go quality makes them both popular impulse purchases and a good reason to visit one c-store chain over another.
Regardless of which products CBD is added to, it’s important that they carry clear labels. Consumers want to know the origin of a product’s CBD, whether it’s organic, whether it has been through third-party testing, and of course, its potency. Since CBD users are just at the beginning of the wave, they are likely to read labels closely.
With age verification being required for purchase, CBD products need to be kept behind the counter. But there aren’t yet any advertising rules or stipulations that would interfere with marketing them. C-stores can promote their CBD-infused options, use them as add-ons, create limited-time offers, and even tie in fuel discounts.
CBD products have only just begun to come into the mainstream, but they should soon emerge as a highly profitable mass-market trend. To learn more about CBD products and convenience stores check out our on-demand webinar, “CBD Products – The Next Big Category in your Stores.”