COVID-19 impacts on the U.S. pet industry were not what seemed inevitableduring the initial months of the pandemic. Instead, 2020 turned out to be abanner year for the market, with sales growth of 9% pushing overall petindustry sales to $107 billion, as reported by Packaged Facts‘ just releasedU.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2021-2022.
Along with the re-confirmed recession resistance of the pet industry, severalfactors support an extremely positive near- and long-term outlook for the petmarket. A surge in pet acquisition and adoption continued throughChristmas/Winter Holidays 2020. New pet acquisition—especially strong amongthose who already had pets and those with children in the home—brought thenumber of pet dogs to 96 million (up over 10 million from 2019) and the numberof pet cats to 32 million (up over 2 million).
In contrast to pet population patterns in the wake of the Great Recession of2007-2009, which triggered a “Decade of the Dog” for the industry, petadoption and acquisition not only spanned pet types but disproportionatelyincluded pets other than dogs and cats, especially reptiles or small mammalssuch as rabbits, hamsters, and gerbils. As indicated in the Packaged Factsreport, more households now are “multiple-pet” in having more than one of asingle type of pet, and in having more than one type of pet. It’s a dog-and-cat world.
Once pets are homed, most pet care spending is non-discretionary, such thatpet food and non-food supply sales, as well as veterinary sector revenues,gained strength despite COVID-19 challenges and dislocations. Moreover, asnoted by Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle, “not just pets butpet stores and pet care businesses are now culturally and politicallyinscribed as essential.”
At the same time, brick-and-mortar-based retailers are more Internet-focusedthan ever, tapping in to the continued acceleration of online shopping andfeaturing expanded brick-and-click options including curbside pickup and same-day delivery. From an omnimarket vantage, digital pet care opportunitiesextend beyond e-commerce to emerging areas such as veterinary telemedicine andteletriage, in sync with rapid gains in pet medications sales online throughwebsites such as Chewy Pharmacy and WalmartPetRx.com
While the pet industry has long been an investor favorite, the blockbusterperformance of the U.S. pet industry despite COVID-19 has spurred a new flurryof M&A and investment activity. Major developments include Petco’s initialpublic offering, BarkBox’s $1.6 billion valuation as a public company, and theacquisition of market retailers or brands including Pet Supplies Plus, NaturalBalance, WellPet, Breeder’s Choice, and Solid Gold. As with puppy dog eyes,investors are finding the pet market very hard to say no to.
For more information see the U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2021-2022 studypage. The study, with 108 figures and 60 tables, analyzes current and projectsfuture retail sales and trends across the U.S. pet industry, considering inthe known and longer-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The reportexamines collectively and separately four sectors of pet products andservices:
- pet food
- non-food pet supplies
- veterinary services
- non-medical pet services
Particular attention is dedicated to the market impact of e-commerce andtechnology-driven and other emerging products and services.
Source: Petfood Industry News
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