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According to a new study from sales and marketing firm Acosta, shoppers primarily buy pet food from mass and pet retailers, and purchases for pet needs from several retailers are currents.

“Pets are a Big Business” report provides insight into pet ownership by generation as well as purchasing habits and factors that drive pet food decision making .

“Pet care is a fast growing $ 75 billion industry (including veterinary care), with pet food sales up more than 6% from last year Said Colin Stewart, Executive Vice President, Business Intelligence at Acosta. “With this growth, we are seeing spending behaviors shift to reflect simpler purchasing options and an increased interest in healthy options for their pets that include real, natural ingredients. As pet ownership continues to skyrocket, retailers are expected to capitalize on the growth of the industry by focusing on their competitive advantages and competing in all directions: price, assortment and convenience.

With this growth, spending behaviors are changing: Traditional retailers that sell pet products are still key, with $ 17 billion spent on pet food in these channels, but shoppers are rapidly changing their behaviors to reflect simpler options. In fact, 54% of Millennials have purchased pet food or supplies online, driven by the benefits of convenience, price, and assortment. Premium brands are also entering grocery stores and mass retailers, fueling growth while attracting shoppers with list prices.

The study noted that one in five pet owners changed their purchasing behaviors to reflect more convenient options. The top reasons Millennials switch to where they buy pets are convenience (49%), price (31%), and assortment (17%). “Switching brands is more common than switching retailers,” the report notes, “and dog owners who shop most often online are the least likely to change. “

Acosta

Acosta notes that pet owners primarily purchase pet food from mass and pet retailers, and that it is common to purchase pet products from multiple retailers. Thirty-two percent of dog owners said they shopped at four or more retailers.

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Over the past year, grocery retailers have increased their pet food dollars (+ 5%), while food sales for pet retailers are down (-1.7% ). “This is mainly because high-end brands are entering grocery stores,” Acosta said, “making it more convenient for pet owners to buy food there and saving them a trip. Another contributing factor is that pet food prices at grocery retailers are often comparable or lower than those at pet retailers. “

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E-commerce is booming with 54% of Millennials buying food and supplies for their dogs online in the past year, and 45% of Millennials have done so for their cats. Compared to last year, online pet food sales are increasing, but penetration is low at 9%. Household penetration is declining in major physical channels.

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