Pandemic-related sales jumps were felt across a wide range of pet market categories in the early days of COVID-19, as pet owners stocked up on pet essentials and purchased items to make their time at home with their pets as comfortable as possible. Sales have continued at a brisk pace as the U.S. has settled into life in the new normal, bolstered by an influx of new pet acquisitions, the rapid acceleration of online sales, and pet owners looking for ways to address the challenges of on-going pandemic-related restrictions, reports Packaged Facts in the recently published market research report Durable Dog and Cat Petcare Products, 3rd Edition.
In the durable pet products market in particular, one of the biggest factors influencing growth is the vast number of pet owners who are working—and playing—at home. The number of pet owners working from home has risen dramatically during the pandemic, and many will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Additionally, although pandemic-related restrictions have begun to ease, traveling for work or pleasure won’t likely return to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon. Packaged Facts survey results confirm that as a result of the virus, 81% of pet owners are going outside of the home less, 78% are doing less leisure travel, 58% are working away from their typical workplace, and 52% are doing less business travel.
“Greater engagement with pets has become a welcome way to pass the time and stay healthy over the past several months, driving up sales of human/pet interactive toys and outdoor items such as leashes, collars, ball launchers, and so on,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.
Beyond the categories mentioned by Mr. Sprinkle, other categories are seeing increased demand. These include confinement products (gates and kennels) to help owners establish pet-free zones in the home, and décor-related products such as pet beds to help owners “spruce up” their living spaces. As pet owners begin to transition back into a lifestyle that gets them out of the house more, items such as food and treat dispensers and pet cameras will help owners assuage some of the guilt of leaving their pets at home alone.
If the pandemic demonstrated anything about the relationship between pets and pet owners, it is that pets provide comfort and emotional support for owners unable to socialize with friends and family, encouraging deeper bonds that make pet owners more likely to spend generously on home-based pet health, recreation, and pampering. As a result, Packaged Facts expects the pet durables market to see a nearly 10% increase in 2020 bringing sales to $5.7 billion, as well as steady annual sales gains through 2024.
Pet owners want a lot from their pet food brands. They want primary proteins that suit what they believe is best for their animal. They want grains or they don't. They want something customized, but it has to be easy to understand.
Constraints and crises, like those experienced in 2020, help drive innovation and sustainability offers context.