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With CBD available in so many types of products, what are the ones consumers are most interested in?

According to John Kagia, chief knowledge officer at New Frontier Data, whose company recently studied CBD buying patterns in Europe and is working on an American version of the report scheduled to be released this spring, it’s exactly what you’d think, based on the shelves.

“The most popular categories that we see are the tinctures, oil and other drop-form based products, which account for more than half of the most-popular products in the market,” Kagia says.

According to New Frontier’s data, more than 53% of CBD consumers have used a tincture or oil. Kagia says this may be due to their high rates of availability, ease of manufacture and capacity for scaling up.

Kagia says the second-most popular category, pills and capsules, take more engineering know-how and additional industrial machinery to produce, so it makes sense it is a smaller category. Following pills are flower, vape pens, beverages like beer/cider/wine, bottled teas and coffees, sweet edibles and bottled fruit juices/sports drinks.

A higher level of engineering knowledge is also necessary for making non-ingestible items such as topicals, which Kagia says is still “a really small subset of the market.” He says among non-ingestible products, the top selling items are massage oils and lubricants (6%), body moisturizers (5%) and facial products (4%).

For now, Kagia says Food and Drug Administration regulations on ingestible CBD in the United States remains an “open question,” but the U.S. market is already more mature than the European one, as New Frontier’s data shows that 85% of the U.S. population has heard of CBD and 28% have tried it, compared to 56% and 16%, respectively, in Europe.

Kagia says he expects tinctures and drops to remain popular going forward, but says the broad categories to watch in five years will be infused foods and drinks, topical applications that provide localized relief and pills and capsules that will include CBD as well as some other vitamins or minerals designed to achieve a specific therapeutic outcome.

He also said he expects a few more years of “out there” applications, such as sportwear and bedding, as the sector continues the “current trial-and-error moment of the sector.”

— Brian Beckley

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