Trends – Dayparts Driving Consumer and Product Differentiation

By: Ken Field. Ipsos, Director Market Strategy and Understanding

Do you most enjoy cannabis during the day or at night? Are you a wake-and-bake type person or a goodnight-toke type? Or maybe you’re a bit of both? 

Consumption data on cannabis-use is helping to flesh out the role of daypart in the cannabis industry, which will have important implications for suppliers and marketers as they seek to differentiate their products.  

Daypart marketing is a popular approach in the food and beverage world to tailor a go-to-market strategy for a specific time or occasion. The breakfast menu is a classic example, offering a variety of inexpensive eggs and bacon-themed dishes in the morning before switching over to higher priced meat-based offerings after lunch. 

54% of cannabis occasions occur outside the early evening hours.

In cannabis, there is notable opportunity to explore daypart strategies as cannabis is used throughout the day. Indeed, roughly 54% of cannabis occasions occur outside the early evening hours (5:00 pm – 10:00 pm). Compare this to alcohol where only 33% is consumed outside this period. 28% of cannabis users even report using cannabis occasionally in the morning before lunch, accounting for 15% of cannabis consumption overall. 

Generally, there appears to be a divide between cannabis used during the day and cannabis used at night. It’s used in different contexts and for different reasons. 

Daytime Cannabis Use 

Daytime cannabis use (before dinner) accounts for 37% of occasions and tends to place a bigger focus on boosting energy, focus, and creativity. It’s more likely to be used when doing chores around the house or otherwise trying to boost productivity.  

People enjoying daytime cannabis also tend to have somewhat lower income, have been using cannabis a bit longer, are heavier users overall, and are somewhat more sophisticated in their product selection. They care more about the brand and plant type, method of production (organic is important), and convenient packaging for immediate consumption. However, they are also more likely to grow their own at home, which can increase price pressures on commercial offerings. Therefore, daytime-focused products need to offer value above-and-beyond what the hobbyist grower could achieve at home. 

Nighttime Cannabis Use 

Nighttime (after dinner) cannabis use, in contrast, accounts for 63% of occasions and tends to depart from daytime use in that it is focused more on needs to relax and de-stress. More of it is enjoyed while watching TV, more often with a spouse, and more often with food–especially snacks.  

Nighttime users tend to have a bit higher income, have a little less experience with cannabis, and are more likely to be occasional or light-medium intensity consumers. They also tend to focus more on functional attributes when purchasing like the price, THC/CBD content, strain, and format. There’s a notable reliance on recommendations from budtenders, which is also reflected in their choice of purchase channel–strongly skewing to in-person retail. This is great news from a potential shopper activation perspective, but the emphasis on functional attributes over brand risks this daypart becoming commoditized.  

Marketing with a Daypart Strategy 

The sophisticated marketer, armed with consumer research like consumption diaries or journals, can also take this a step further and drill down to narrower time periods, days of week, and regional or demographic variations. For example, weekend evenings drive a somewhat disproportionate amount of usage, and may provide a unique opportunity on its own.  

However, even at the day and night level, there is clear differentiation that can help inform product, user, and channel strategy as suppliers work to find their unique niche in the industry. As no one brand can be all things to all consumers, there may be value in at least identifying whether it is a daytime brand for focus and drive or a nighttime brand to relax and unwind. 

Ken Field is Director Market Strategy and Understanding at Ipsos.