Petfood sales reports show market’s resilience

["US dog food spending falls far below that of petfood markets in Western Europe. ", "Euromonitor pegs China as the fourth fastest-growing pet market globally."]

New reports released as 2012 wraps up indicate the continuing resilience of the pet market, including petfood, despite prolonged turbulence and uncertainty in the global economy.

Euromonitor’s September report, “Pet Care Forecast Revisit 2012: How Resilient is the Global Market?” attributes the resilience to the ongoing humanization of pets and strength of emerging markets—leading to global sales of US$94 billion for all pet products and services by the end of this year and projected growth through at least 2017. However, mounting socioeconomic challenges in many parts of the world have caused Euromonitor to downgrade its projections from previous forecasts.

Specific to the US and dog food, another Euromonitor report finds improved performance in 2012 thanks to sales of premium products. The report estimates spending on petfood and treats to reach US$167 per dog by the end of this year.

US dog food  spending, though, falls far below that of petfood markets in Western Europe. Citing Euromonitor data, Quartz, a business news site, shows Norwegian dog owners spend US$53.22 a week per dog ( Norwegians are trading up to premium products, purchasing higher-priced organic and “diet” dog foods, which sometimes also come in costlier meal-size packages, the site says.

In Switzerland, the second-place country, owners spend US$36.09 per week per dog. Overall, Western Europe accounts for eight of the top 10 spenders on dog food—despite the fact that Euromonitor projects dog and cat food sales in the region to increase less than 1% in 2012. That’s according to Paula Flores, global head of pet care research for Euromonitor, who spoke at the International Pet Industry Summit in October in Shanghai, China.

Flores emphasized that Western Europe is comprised of “markets moving at different speeds.” As with their economies overall, Greece and Spain show negative petfood growth, with reports of people giving up their pets; while some markets, such as the Netherlands, may enjoy up to 2% growth (the highest for the region).

In other regions, Australia sneaks in at number three in dog food spending, at US$31.44 per week per dog, according to Quartz. Brazil spends US$11.49 per week per dog; Flores named it the fastest-growing pet market globally and projected it to reach US$7 billion in overall pet care sales this year and have the largest number of small dogs by 2017. China is only at US$0.98 per week per dog, but spending there is poised to explode as pet ownership and purchasing of commercial petfoods increase exponentially. Euromonitor pegs China as the fourth fastest-growing pet market globally.

I’m not sure how those weekly amounts relate to annual levels. The Quartz article shows the US spends US$13.89 per week per dog, which doesn’t seem to compute with that US$167 per year in the new Euromonitor report. Similarly, Quartz says Norwegian dog owners spend the “equivalent of” US$639 per year per dog, far less than what the weekly figure of US$53.22 would seem to indicate. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in that “equivalent.”

Mintel is also  out with a new report, “Marketing to Pet Owners—US,” showing the US pet care market is worth US$49 billion, an increase of 15% since 2007. Petfood accounted for the largest share in 2011, 37.8%, at US$18.1 billion.

These data are lower than others, such as figures from the American Pet Products Association, which reported in February that the US pet care market reached nearly US$51 billion in 2011, a 5.3% rise over 2010. Petfood sales were US$19.85 billion in 2011, an increase of 5.8%.

Regardless of which numbers you believe—and don’t we prefer the larger ones?—the good news is that the industry continues to grow no matter what’s happening in the overall economy.

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