Although not often discussed in terms of industry-wide patterns, the frequency of pet food purchasing is a key factor to pet food retailing and target marketing. Frequency of purchasing affects everything from the strategic role of pet departments within multi-category retailers, to customer receptiveness to reward programs, to the appeal of subscription ordering and home delivery of pet food or treats.
The importance of the frequent pet food purchasing lies not only in associated retailing or marketing strategies, but also, and perhaps more importantly, in the implications for pet food products themselves, because purchasing patterns tie in to the role of pets in the home and in pet owners’ lives.
For example, dog owners who buy dry pet food weekly are significantly more likely to strongly agree that they are “willing to spend extra to ensure the wellness of my pet,” compared with dog owners overall.
Compared with dog owners overall, a significantly higher percentage of weekly purchasers of dry dog food strongly agree that they:
- Seek out pet foods made in the US.
- Have concerns about the safety of pet foods.
- Would buy natural/organic pet foods more often if they were more affordable.
- Have concerns about their pet’s allergies or intolerances affect which pet foods they buy.
- Prefer to purchase pet products made by smaller, trusted companies.
- Purchasing patterns in dry and moist/canned pet food, pet treats
Data from Packaged Facts’ July 2016 survey indicate that, in the case of dry pet food, dog owners are more frequent purchasers than are cat owners. The most frequent pet food purchasers are those who own both cats and dogs. Among these multiple pet owners, less than a 10th stock up on dry pet food less than once a month.
Among buyers of moist or canned pet food, the rate of weekly purchasing increases significantly among owners of either dogs or cats. This pattern reflects in part the especially important role of supermarkets, and weekly shopping, in the market for wet pet food. Most markedly in the case of cat owners, among whom the prevalence of weekly purchasing of wet food rises dramatically compared with weekly purchasing of dry food.
Among buyers of pet treats, frequency of purchase decreases across the board, reflecting the fact that pet treats are supplemental to feeding pets.
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