Market trends: Petfood consumer spending habits
Where are pet product shoppers buying their food and treats, and why are they choosing these retail channels?
According to IRI sales-tracking data, petfood sales through mass-market outlets (Packaged Facts defines these outlets as supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandisers excluding Walmart) totaled US$6.5 billion in retail for the 52 weeks ending January 27, 2013, up 0.3% from January 2012. Mass-market outlets lead in petfood sales, with supercenters/mass merchandisers and supermarkets collectively claiming 52% of the market in 2012, with this share split roughly down the middle between the two channels.
Combining chains and independents, the pet specialty channel accounts for most of the balance of petfood sales, at 36%, with the large majority of this share going to the chains, and with PetSmart and Petco accounting for the large majority of those sales. Other channels share the remaining 12% of sales, of which veterinarians and warehouse clubs (Sam’s Club, Costco) are the most important, states the Packaged Facts report "Pet Food in the US, 10th edition" (see Figure 1).
Petfood sales have thankfully recovered from their recessionary low; however, the trick will be to sustain or surpass this rate of growth, since at its current pace pet population growth is not sufficient to drive higher levels of market advancement. According to Packaged Facts, for quite some time much of the dollar growth in the petfood market has come from converting pet owners to higher-priced premium and superpremium foods, but this trend shows signs of hitting a ceiling, including the slow-down in higher-income households’ previously fast growing share of the petfood pie. Also of concern is growing price pressure…