“Other” Pet Store Sector in Transition

“Other” Pet Store Sector in Transition

In the new report U.S. Pet Market Focus: Pet Specialty Channel and Internet Shoppers Packaged Facts estimates pet product sales of pet specialty stores other than PetSmart and Petco at under $6 billion in 2018. These sales break out fairly evenly between regional/local pet chains and the more traditional local/independent pet stores--but momentum is on the side of the regional/local chains rather than the “mom and pop” independent stores.  These “other” pet chain or independent stores consist primarily of smaller- and mid-size formats, although also with some superstore-size outlets among the regional chains.

As is also the case with PetSmart or Petco, top indicators for shopping at “other” pet stores including living in a top 25 metropolitan area and having a college or graduate degree. Packaged Facts estimates average annual customer household spending on pet products through this “other” pet store sector at $186, compared with an average of $234 for the pet superchains PetSmart and Petco. As with PetSmart and Petco, average annual spending in the “other” pet store sector is lowered by a high degree of cross-shopping in other store-based channels and online.

Like the veterinarians as pet product sellers, pet chains and stores large and small are under the shadow of fast-growing e-commerce sales of pet supplies. Although dedicated pet stores might theoretically inspire higher levels of customer loyalty, the Internet effect in the pet products market is the reverse: the more specialized the store-based channel, the more heavily it’s subject to online competition.

Simmons Research data show the combined draw among dog- or cat-owning households in the “other” pet store sector notching up from 12% of U.S. households in 2008 to 14% as of 2018, equating to roughly a third of the combined PetSmart and Petco customer base. This notching up in customer base is attributable to aggressive expansion by pet chains other than PetSmart or Petco, which is counterbalancing the gradual decline of the independent pet store sector.

-- by Shannon Brown, senior pet market research analyst