Argentina has both a large pet food market and strong e-commerce potential, two factors that can reinforce each other, according to Diana Mercado, founder of Zoo Inc., during her presentation at the Pet Food Industry Congress in Latin America (CIPAL) in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 18.

More than 9 million dogs live in Argentina, said Mercado, quoting figures from Mordor Intelligence. Three million domestic cats call the country home. Feeding those dogs, cats and other pets added up to an annual pet food market value of approximately US$1.053 billion in 2014. Mordor analysts projected that the Argentinian pet food market will hit US$1.162 billion by 2020 with a compound annual growth rate of 1.6%.

E-commerce in Argentina and pet food

While the Argentinian pet food market is growing, e-commerce acceptance continues increasing, along with internet penetration rates.

Statistics from the Argentinian Chamber of Electronic Commerce, presented by Mercado, suggest that consumers’ resistance to e-commerce has decreased in just the past few years. In 2016, 73% of respondents told the Chamber that not being able to see the product was a disadvantage to using e-commerce. That figure decreased to 52% in 2018. Likewise, concerns about late shipping decreased from 38% to 28%. Argentinian consumers’ fears about data insecurity on e-commerce retailers’ websites declined from 15% to 9%.

Argentinian consumers correspondingly increased their belief in the value of e-commerce. The Chamber’s most recent figures reflect that 43% of consumers feel that the process of buying online was easy and simple to do, up from 30% in 2018.

However, many pet food companies operating in Argentinian e-commerce don’t take full advantage of potential internet sales of dog, cat and other pet products, Mercado said. She found that no major pet food brands in Argentina sold their products directly to consumers. Likewise, many didn’t provide tools to help pet owners find places to buy products. The pet food companies Sieger, BioPet, Nature/Keddi and Dr. Cossia fell into this category.

Some companies’ websites included links to online retailers where Argentinians could buy their products, or interactive maps to help consumers find brick-and-mortar retailers. Pet food companies operating in Argentina and offering these tools included Vitalcan, Eukanuba and Pedigree.