Pet retailing times a-changing

Pet retailing times a-changing

The privatization of PetSmart.  The encroachment of mass-market players on premium product sales.  Pet owners’ growing infatuation with online shopping.  These are just some of the changes rocking pet retail in just the past year, and the hits just keep on coming.

By infiltrating niches previously occupied by pet specialty retailers, mass players are clinging to their share of pet product sales. For example, supermarkets offering superpremium product options, and mass merchandisers promising high-quality private-label products, wiled an attractive incentive to pet owners-plus the convenience of a one-stop shopping trip. Packaged Facts survey data show that it’s not PetSmart or Petco that leads in terms of pet food and pet supplies consumer penetration rates, but Walmart, with 39% of pet shoppers buying their pet food there and 27% of turning to Walmart for nonfood pet supplies.

Despite the efforts of mass marketers, the pet specialty channel continues to expand, relying on pet services and knowledgeable salespeople to convince pet owners to make the extra trip to the store. At the same time, Internet sales of pet products-a category that long lagged behind other CPG categories because of pet food’s prohibitive shipping costs-are now growing exponentially, thereby threatening one of pet specialty’s long-held advantages:  product selection. With free, 2-day shipping becoming the norm, online shopping means the same product at an even or similar price, without having to lug around that 20 lb. bag of food.

Throw in the consolidation of two of the nation’s biggest dollar store chains, and you’ve got a pet retail market thoroughly abuzz-and thoroughly covered by Packaged Facts’ Pet Product Retailing in the U.S.:  Channel Competition and Consumer Shopping Trends, 2nd Edition. Add this report to your own intelligence library and receive a 5% discount during our promotional period effective through June 1, 2015. Use code PFPETRETAIL2015.

-- By Shannon Brown