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Pet product marketers and retailers must re-evaluate their key strategic options to respond to the current marketplace: competing on price, incorporating premium and natural products into the product mix, improving merchandising, staging events and promotions, playing up pet treats, and becoming destination information sources (including online).
That’s because pet owners are shopping around. According to Packaged Facts’ September 2011 Pet Owner Survey, nearly half (47%) of pet product buyers agree that they shop for pet products at a variety of stores. Experian Simmons data show that the percentage of dog or cat owners who are channel-loyal fell to 41% in 2011, down from 53% in 2006.
Over the long term, three trends have greatly intensified competition: the expansion of the two big-box pet specialty chains; the growth of mass merchandisers and supercenters; and the rise of the Internet. Shorter term, since 2008, the Great Recession and its New Normal aftermath of economic sluggishness have pressured pet product retailers of all kinds. Budget-conscious consumers demand more value in the products they buy, chart out grocery shopping trips beforehand, and are willing to switch channels and brands to make ends meet or satisfy shifting priorities. There is still a strong upscale element to the pet market, of course. But in the wake of the “premiumization” wave of the early 2000s, many pet owners have already traded up—and, with the recession that followed, some have scaled back.
The pet product market’s above-average prospects nonetheless continue to attract new players, expanding the range of retailers vying for a slice of the pie. The new players include private label, further complicating strategies and options for traditional marketers. Packaged Facts survey data show high levels of affection for store brands among pet product buyers, nearly half of whom agree that they are buying more store-brand food and beverage products these days, and that “store-brand pet products are often as good as national brand name products” (45%).
Pet Product Retail Channel and Consumer Shopping Trends guides marketers and retailers in navigating these waters by examining pet product retail channel trends and consumer shopping patterns across all of the major pet product shopping venues in the United States, including supermarkets, discount stores, wholesale clubs, drugstores, convenience stores, pet superstores, other pet chains and independents, Internet, veterinarians, natural supermarkets, dollar stores, agricultural/feed-seed/farm stores, home improvement/garden centers, home stores, and closeout stores.
This report features exclusive pet shopper profiling data from Packaged Facts’ quarterly pet owner surveys, as well as trended national consumer survey results from Experian Simmons. Coverage includes breakouts of pet product sales by retail channel; trended rates of channel usage and loyalty; cross-channel trends including impact of recession and ongoing economic sluggishness; role of channel exclusivity or expansion among major marketers and brands; private-label impact; and role of premium products and “pets as family” sentiment in the economic New Normal. Focus discussions home in on key channels and chains including:
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