CBD Beauty Sales to Double in 2021: Report

Can the segment gain traction in convenience?
Photograph: Shutterstock

NEW YORK – As convenience retailers anxiously watch for development of the edibles and drinks segment of the cannabidiol (CBD) market, hemp-derived beauty and cosmetic products may be the next CBD trend to blossom in retail.

While not the most prominent of CBD segments today, Nielsen predicts that CBD beauty and cosmetic products could account for as much as 20% of the total CBD category in 2021.

In a report first published in Hemp Industry Daily, Nielsen suggests the CBD beauty segment will grow from $340 million sales in 2020 to $600 million this year, boosted by major retail chains picking up products such as face lotions, serums, skin nourishment products and more traditional cosmetic products like lip balm or hair products.

“For many existing brands in the cannabinoid space, the cosmetic and beauty space present a logical category extension to branch into,” Rick Maturo, Nielsen’s associate director of client service for cannabis, told Hemp Industry Daily. “Those categories are well established in leveraging the growing and continuing trend of functional ingredients such as, good-for-you or from-the-earth.”

The report also highlighted facts about the CBD beauty and cosmetic consumer, finding that:

  • Women younger than 35 are the most likely segment to purchase CBD cosmetics in the next year.
  • CBD beauty shoppers spend an average of $36 in the category.
  • 42% of CBD cosmetics consumers say they use the beauty products at least weekly, the highest frequency of use of any CBD category.

“If they can become ingrained as part of a consumers’ daily routine, … the inclusion of natural ‘good-for-you’ ingredients can go a long way in guaranteeing long-term traction with consumers,” Marturo said of the frequency with which CBD beauty products are used.

With cosmetics overwhelmingly targeted to female consumers, the question becomes: Can this higher-priced subsegment find a place in convenience retail? Discussions during CSP’s 2021 CBD Share Group in May reflected that retailers are indeed trying—and often succeeding—in a number of unexpected CBD product categories, including pet products, lotions, shampoo and conditioners, and even CBD-infused bath bombs.

Ray Johnson, director of operations at the Las Vegas-based Speedee Mart, was skeptical when being pitched CBD bath bombs.

“I didn’t even know what it was; who of my customers will know?” he said. “The women knew. We still carry them in two scents. Every time I review what to keep or get rid of, bath bombs still make it.”

Johnson said while CBD lip balm did not perform as well in his stores, he advocated for a try-and-see approach, even for less convenience-centric segments.

“For convenience retailers, it’s easy to test,” he said. “Put one box of something in the store. If it doesn’t work, mark it down. It’s a low risk. With a low risk, there’s no reason not to try.”

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