Does a drop in CBD sales signal dwindling consumer interest, or is it a classic ‘crossing the chasm’ moment?

Will Kreznick

Still, other players see long-term potential for CBD – once it crosses the chasm – but argue it may be best suited for supplements, as gummies and tinctures, rather than food, with a carve out for some beverages. According to data presented late last month at virtual Natural Products Expo […]

Still, other players see long-term potential for CBD – once it crosses the chasm – but argue it may be best suited for supplements, as gummies and tinctures, rather than food, with a carve out for some beverages.

According to data presented late last month at virtual Natural Products Expo West, sales of CBD supplements fell 6% in 2020, which represents a major turn of events from the double-digit sales expansion they experienced in 2019. The drop-off is even more notable given the 14% jump in sales of supplements overall, driven in part by consumers seeking products during the pandemic to boost their immunity, manage stress, and promote relaxation among other benefits.

In food, SPINS data revealed a similar trend in the 52 weeks ending April 18, 2021, with an 11% drop in sales of shelf stable functional beverages with CBD, which SPINS marketing data analyst Scott Dicker noted at virtual Expo West was repeated across categories as the ingredient “recalibrates to find its new baseline”​ after a period of intense hype.

This recalibration does not seem to be impacting other ingredients touted for similar benefits, which SPINS data shows generating double and even triple digit sales gains in 2020. For example, SPINS reports sales of ashwaganda increased 117% to $65m and sales of cordyceps mushrooms increased 47% to $6m in 2020.

At the same time CBD sales dropped, so did CBD prices, according to a comprehensive study of major CBD brands by Leafreport​. The report found 70% of brands lowered their prices in 2020 and that CBD prices fell 17% to 13 cents per mg in 2020 from 15 cents the before.

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