U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2020-2021: The COVID-19 Impact (June 2020 Update)

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Published Jun 22, 2020 | 267 Pages | Pub ID: LA15558259

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U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2020-2021: The COVID-19 Impact (June 2020 Update)

All four sectors of the U.S. pet industry—pet food, non-food pet supplies, veterinary services, and non-medical pet services—have been challenged by the coronavirus pandemic, whose effects may continue to be felt for years after the medical crisis is past. Pet services rather than pet products are bearing the brunt of the blow, but the business operations of key players increasingly span not only brick-and-mortar and e-commerce but also products and services, medical and non-medical, and foods and non-foods, such that the fortunes of the pet industry are partially intertwined across sectors.

Any quantitative projections of the further impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting economic downdraft on the U.S. pet industry, are necessarily tentative. There is no certainty about how long the medical coronavirus crisis (and any resurgences) will last, how prolonged the job and wage losses will be, or how much the pandemic will alter the global market and political relationships on which U.S. economic growth relies. But from an optimistic point of view, few pet market observers will disagree that in the years since 9/11 “pets as family” has given the U.S. pet industry a powerful and enduring boost. And with Americans facing uncertainty on an unprecedented scale and spending more time at home, it is more than likely that “pets as family” will gain additional momentum during the age of coronavirus and beyond.

The market growth projections by sector provided in this report attempts to balance the severity of the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic with the time-tested strengths of the U.S. pet market—strengths evident even during the initial Q2 2020 phase of COVID-19’s sudden impact. Packaged Facts projects that overall pet market sales will remain flat in 2020, with pet product sales gains offset by pet service sector revenue losses. Despite the coronavirus pandemic impacts, retail sales of pet food and non-food pet supplies will grow in 2020, while the veterinary channel should regain 2019 revenue levels by 2021, as will the non-medical pet care services sector by 2022.

In the wake of COVID-19 market and social impacts, moreover, several pet ownership, retail product, and pet care service segments present new conditions for sales growth. Many of these new opportunities follow from the coronavirus pandemic-triggered surge in pet adoption and acquisition. In contrast to pet adoption patterns in the wake of the Great Recession, the current adoption response has extended across pet types, disproportionately including pets other than dogs and cats, as indicated by the proprietary April/May 2002 consumer survey data provided in this report. In addition, new online and digital opportunities extend beyond e-commerce to emerging areas such as veterinary telemedicine and teletriage.

Scope and Methodology

This report analyzes current and projects future retail sales and trends across the U.S. pet industry, factoring in the known and projected impact of the coronavirus pandemic across all areas of the market, based on the current situation and the expected trajectory of the crisis. It examines collectively and separately four categories of pet products and services—pet food, non-food pet supplies, veterinary services, and non-medical pet services—and details strategic activity in all of the major retail channels, paying particular attention to the market impact of e-commerce and technology-driven and other emerging products and services.

The information contained in this report was obtained from primary and secondary research. Primary research includes national online consumer polls of U.S. adult pet owners (age 18+) conducted on an ongoing basis by Packaged Facts, to measure purchasing patterns and attitudes regarding pet products and services. With sample sizes of approximately 1,000 pet owners, these surveys are based on national online research panels that are census representative on the primary demographic measures of age, gender, geographic region, race/ethnicity, and household income. The surveys used in this report were conducted between February 2019 and May 2020.

Our primary research also includes interviews with pet market experts; participation in pet industry events including the American Pet Products Association’s Global Pet Expos (2004-2020) and Petfood Industry/Watt Publishing’s Petfood Forums (2004-2019); on-site examination of retail and service provider venues; and Internet canvassing, including blogs.

Secondary research includes information- and data-gathering from consumer business and trade publications including Pet Age, Pet Business, Pet Product News International, Petfood Industry, and Veterinary Practice News; company profiles in trade and consumer publications; and information culled from Packaged Facts’ extensive pet market research database and report collection.

Packaged Facts estimates of market size and company performance are based on reported revenues of pet product manufacturers, retailers, and pet services providers; background sales data from sources such as IRI and Nielsen, surveys of independent and chain pet store retailers; government data including U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Surveys; and figures from other market research sources.

In addition to proprietary new pet ownership projections for 2020, factoring in the recent surge in pet adoption as well as Q2 2020 product sales trends, this report provides trended 2009/10 through 2019/20 data on pet ownership levels by type based on Simmons Research National Consumer Survey data. On an ongoing basis, Simmons conducts booklet-based surveys of a large and random sample of consumers (approximately 25,000 for each 12-14 month survey compilation), who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. population. This report draws on Simmons survey releases through Winter 2019/20 (with a sample including 10,151 dog owners, 5,968 cat owners, and 2,785 other pet owners, and field dates of 1/20/2019 through 3/18/20).
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