New Frontier Data examines how packaging affects consumer purchasing habits

Cannabis retail marketing requires thorough research to best capture the attention of potential customers, especially in highly competitive markets. New Frontier Data offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what branded packaging says about a product and how it is perceived by consumers. New Frontier Data uses information collected and published in its recently published Cannabis Consumers in America report, which identifies consumers based on their purchasing behavior and trends in the industry (categorized as Savvy Connoisseurs, Contemporary Lifestylers, Legacy Lifestylers, Medical Lifestylers, Modern Medicinals , Engaged Explorers, Social Nibblers, Holistic Healers, and Rare Participants.)

Fifty-one percent of consumers choose products based on the desired effect, such as sleep, energy, relaxation, or creativity. While potency is also a contributing factor, the latest report from New Frontier Data examined the bottom line of the look of popular branded packaging and shared which ones people prefer the most.

For this product survey, respondents were asked if they search for flowers from specific brands or companies: 43% answered “sometimes”, 21% said “always”, 19% said “rarely” and 17% answered “never”. Overall, 28% said branding and packaging are “very or extremely important” when considering what to buy.

Six floral packaging image variations with percentages of consumers who most favored these packaging themes: Black Minimalist Jar (7%), Gold Jar (9%), Craft Paper Jar (14%), Mountain Landscape Jar (16%), Hippie Colorful Jar (17%) and prescription white glass (36%).

The Black Minimalist Jar is described as a common choice between different age groups, but often chosen because it was “cool, modern and masculine”. Those who prefer this jar typically spend between $50 and $199 per transaction and are more likely to use cannabis every day.

The Gold Jar was most popular with consumers over 55, who described it as “cool, natural or modern”. Some described it as feminine, but it was slightly more preferred by men. Those drawn to this jar typically purchase between 3.5 grams and 14 grams per month, typically purchasing around $50 to $99 in a single purchase. This particular consumer is also more likely to consider topical or transdermal products as their favorites.

The Craft Paper Jar featured a plain brown exterior with black text, which attracted consumers who enjoy using cannabis in a social setting because it’s “natural, authentic, and cool.” Those drawn to this packaging tend to purchase anywhere from $20 to $99 worth of products in a single purchase.

The Mountain Landscape Jar attracted younger consumers because it was “cool, natural and authentic”. They were also the customers most likely to choose vaping as their primary mode of consumption.

The colorful hippie jar was the most colorful of the range, attracting medicinal cannabis users more than consumers who described the jar as “cool, authentic and modern”. 64 percent of these consumers typically spend between $20 and $99 on a single purchase and prefer edibles to other consumption methods.

Ultimately, the Prescription White Jar was the most popular of all these designs, appealing to all ages and consumer types for its “medicinal, authentic and natural” design approach. Those who choose to do so tend to purchase more than an ounce of cannabis each month, preferring flowers over all other product types.

New Frontier Data quotes Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, a marketing expert who is also a co-founder of the consulting firm Olson Zaltman Associates, which has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands. According to Zaltman’s book How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market, 95% of purchasing decisions are unconscious and 93% of people “rely on visual cues when considering new products.”

With this in mind, New Frontier Data recommends ongoing consideration as companies create their branded product identity. “As consumers become more diverse and differentiated, both in their motivations and in their consumption methods, brands should aim to directly articulate how a particular product fits a consumer’s goals, rather than simply settling for selling flowers give.

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