Online pet food sales may be eclipsing brick-and-mortar stores in many markets around the world, noted Euromonitor analyst Damien Shore in his blog. Blue Buffalo, for example, reported a small decline in pet superstores sales during 2016’s third quarter, while internet pet food sales increased dramatically.
In the massive North American pet food market, Euromonitor data tracked online pet food sales as they doubled between 2011 and 2016 to 3 percent, or nearly US$1 billion, of the total US$31 billion market.
Online pet food sales built a strong presence in China’s growing pet food market, at 31.7 percent of total sales in 2016, up from just 3.2 percent in 2011, Shore wrote. One reason for this is that Chinese consumers may shop the internet to find international brands of pet foods that they can’t find locally, since China lacks the brick-and-mortar pet superstores of the US and UK. China now ranks as the top country for online pet food sales by percentage, beating out South Korea.
India may soon follow the same pattern as China, he wrote. Although online pet food sales in India are tiny so far, internet commerce is becoming more popular and more middle-class Indians are owning dogs. Those two factors provide the potential for strong growth in internet pet food sales.
An overview of some of the trends that might make headlines during the coming year: The challenge posed to pet superstores by internet retailing, internet retailing in India, the prioritisation of the needs of pets at home, and the possible impact of politics on international trade.
In their results for the third quarter of 2016, a number of North American pet food manufacturers highlighted the fact that while sales of their products via pet superstores had been weak during Q3, this had been more than compensated for rising online sales. For example, Blue Buffalo saw sales via this channel decline by “low single digits” in annualised terms during the quarter, while its online sales exhibited strong growth.
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Premiumization and humanization, as well as automation, fueled continued operation growth in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.