Press Releases

IRI Releases Findings of New Cannabis Attitude and Usage Study

Insights Measure Key Motivators for Legal Adult Marijuana and CBD Use, Provide Insights into Legalization Impact and Opportunities for CPG Industry

CHICAGO — March 12, 2019 — IRI®, a global leader in innovative solutions and services for consumer, retail and media companies, today released findings of a new study focused on understanding the attitudes and usage motivations of legal adult cannabis users, and the projected impact of further legalization on consumer product purchase habits.

“The expanding legalization of cannabis products is already a disruptive force in the CPG industry,” said Robert I. Tomei, president of Market and Shopper Intelligence for IRI. “IRI’s consumer and shopper insights into the impact of cannabis on purchase motivations and behaviors provide critical opportunities for brands to understand the substitution effects and innovation opportunities created by this category-defying ingredient.”

The study, conducted in collaboration with MFour, a leader in mobile market research, surveyed recent purchasers of cannabis products to drive purchase-based insights, as well as a broader general population panel representing all markets to understand projected impacts of legal marijuana and CBD. Key findings of the study included:

  • Cannabis consumers defy stereotypes. Recent purchasers of cannabis in markets where adult use is legal span generations, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds. Beyond demographics, consumers also seek a diverse array of benefits from their purchase.
  • Motivations vary by product type. Legal marijuana purchasers reported that relaxation was their primary motivation for using cannabis, while CBD purchasers were more likely to cite medical symptom treatment as a motivator.
  • Cannabis products replace consumers’ purchases of OTC medication. Over 45 percent of legal marijuana and CBD consumers reported that dispensary purchases in legal markets replace their purchases of over-the-counter medication.
  • Legalization creates opportunities — especially in snacking. Study participants in legal and non-legal markets expect that they are most likely to increase their purchases of baked goods, candy, salty snacks and gum as a result of the legalization of cannabis products.

“Findings like these illuminate the risks and opportunities created by the introduction of cannabis products to more consumers,” said Carl Edstrom, senior vice president and principal of survey solutions for IRI. “While over-the-counter medication brands risk losing market share as a result of broader usage, there are opportunities for brands to leverage the broad appeal of the legal cannabis attribute and incorporate cannabis ingredients into new OTC medication, and certain food products to capture greater value.”

To learn more about the findings of IRI’s Cannabis Attitude and Usage Study and how the broader legalization of cannabis products impacts your business’ category or brand, contact Carl Edstrom at

About the IRI Partner Ecosystem
IRI fundamentally believes that delivering differentiated growth for clients requires deep, highly integrated partnering with a variety of best-of-breed companies. As such, IRI works closely with a broad range of industry leaders across multiple industries and sectors to create innovative joint solutions, services and access to capabilities to help its clients more effectively collaborate and compete in their various markets and exceed their growth objectives. IRI is committed to its partnership philosophy and continues to actively enhance its open ecosystem of partners through alliances, joint ventures, acquisitions and affiliations. The IRI Partner Ecosystem includes such leading companies as 84.51°, Adobe, The Boston Consulting Group, Clavis Insights, comScore, Data Plus Math, Edison, Experian, GfK, Gigwalk, Google, Ipsos, Jumpshot, Mastercard Advisors, MaxPoint, MFour, Omnicom, One Click Retail, Oracle, Pinterest, Research Now/SSI, Simulmedia, SPINS, Univision, Viant and others.

About IRI
IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organizations, retailers, financial services and media companies grow their businesses. A confluence of major external events — a change in consumer buying habits, big data coming into its own, advanced analytics and personalized consumer activation — is leading to a seismic shift in drivers of success in all industries. With the largest repository of purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated on an on-demand, cloud-based technology platform, IRI is empowering the personalization revolution, helping to guide its more than 5,000 clients around the world in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant, capture market share, connect with consumers, collaborate with key constituents and deliver market-leading growth. For more information, visit

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IRI Contact:
Shelley Hughes
Phone: +1 312.474.3675

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