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Increases in sales. Immunity against the financial impact of the pandemic. And an ecommerce market share that outpaces online shopping overall. Along with every metric, the pet shop online sector will be one of the most profitable possibilities for internet brands in 2021. Every measure, except one.

Despite large numbers, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, with the larger dogs eating far more than their fair share. The pet supplies, pet care, and pet food sector is characterized by intense rivalry among retailers, particularly mass merchandisers that benefit from high-volume sales, the indulgence of reduced margins, and scale. PETCO and PetSmart, the top two businesses, account for roughly half of all online pet product revenue. Amazon’s entry into white-labeled pet food poses a challenge to startups that lack the means to manage unpredictable expenses such as shipping and supply-chain operations.

Furthermore, traditional retailing behemoths such as Target and Walmart grow their online presence, changing the pet industry trends and customers’ expectations.

The Expansion of the Pet Industry’s E-commerce will Outlive the Pandemic

Pet owners, like other Americans, have been flocking online in droves throughout the pandemic as a result of business closures, social distancing, and stay-at-home tactics. According to a 2020 Survey of Pet Owners by Packaged Facts, almost two-thirds of U.S. pet owners (64 percent ) are ordering/purchasing more online, nearly half (49 percent ) are buying/ordering more by smartphone, and more than two-fifths (43 percent ) are buying groceries online more. According to the same poll, 31 percent of pet owners use curbside pickup more for grocery shopping from pet supplies online shops, with 25 percent utilizing it for the first time.

According to the most current Packaged Facts study from February 2021, 40% of pets online shopping buyers said they bought online more for pet items as a result of the impact of COVID-19. However, the promoted presenter at Global Pet Expo Digital Access and research director at Packaged Facts, David Sprinkle, states that the rise in e-commerce pet store online shopping in the U.S. pet industry will not be altered even as constraints are slowly lifted and the vaccine becomes more commonly accessible. He further states that consumers have grown accustomed to the comfort and efficiency of online ordering.

“The pre-coronavirus rise in pet industry growth of pet items had already encouraged a significant pet market investment in e-commerce logistics over the previous several years, which has aided strengthen the products side of the sector and will maintain to do so,” Sprinkle adds.

Prior to the pandemic, e-commerce sales were a key driver of the pet industry, with more than $5 billion in non-food pet items sold online in 2019, accounting for an estimated 21% of product sales. Packaged Facts predicts that e-commerce will account for 35% of the non-food pet supplies industry by 2024 due to pandemic-driven rapid customer migration online. Even durable products that were previously resistant to moving online, whether due to the “touch factor” (like in the bed category) or because they were historically impulse purchases (as with the toy category), are now seeing an increasing percentage of internet sales. Hence, merchants should step up their game by investigating incentives for online ordering for home delivery, “click-and-collect” (purchase online, BOPIS/pick up in-store—or, in the era of coronavirus, curbside), plus subscription-based sales.

E-commerce Trends Affecting the Pet Food Business

The pet food business, which is expected to reach a whopping $200 billion in worldwide sales by 2025, is undergoing significant transformation as brands adjust and adapt to many of the same ecommerce trends that are shaking the regular CPG sector.

From growing direct-to-consumer companies challenging large pet stores to a pet grooming industry growth in delivery demand fueled by COVID-19, the pet food industry is reacting to the shifting market quicker than ever before.

Here’s a look at some pet grooming industry trends that pet brands and marketers may take advantage of next year.

  1. The Emergence of High-quality, Nutritious Pet Food

Pet owners, particularly millennials, are spending more money than ever on their pets. Where are these funds being spent? Premium pet food is one of the most appealing purchases for pet owners, according to an eMarketer research.

According to Krista Garcia of eMarketer, a newer generation of pet owners is paying greater attention to their pets’ diets:

“Pet care spending in the States proceeds to grow. Why? Pet food trends mirror patterns for online shopping stating human preferences, which means that there is a rising emphasis on wellness that has extended to the family’s four-legged members. Nielsen reported a 36% rise in home pet food spending from 2007 to 2017, led by premium brand sales. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers spent an average of $710 on pets in 2017, which, as Quartz highlighted, is more than they spent on cable T.V.”

Another Packaged Facts poll found that “people who bought higher-priced pet food, especially dog food, are more inclined to purchase online.

According to a Nielsen research quoted by eMarketer, probiotics, raw ingredients, and non-GMO pet food product searches are all on the rise:

“Nielsen further found a 68 percent growth in dollar sales of dog food including raw food claims in 2017, while probiotics generated a 139 percent sales gain and non-GMO pet food a 29 percent increase for the year ending March 2018.”

  1. Pet DTC Companies and Startups are Capitalizing on Consumer Need for Delivery, Pet Services, Wellness

In the previous 20 years, ecommerce platforms, digital marketing, audience data insights, and logistical capabilities have revolutionized every vertical, and the pet food business is no exception.

The increase in internet demand and new methods of marketing products straight to pet owners have allowed smaller, creative businesses to come up and challenge established pet food giants.

Conclusion: Trends in the Pet Food Business Represent New Prospects

The pet food business, like many others, is undergoing a tremendous transformation as a result of increased consumer spending, changing consumer habits and attitudes, and a spike in pet care industry growth that includes demand for luxury pet food services and products

As more customers spend their money online, there is a significant potential for businesses that can leverage experience, convenience, and luxury pet food products by marketing directly to consumers through a practical, cross-channel marketing approach.