One of the biggest questions arising in the Mexican pet food industry is how much online pet food sales grew in 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As authorities limited the opening times and access at traditional retail outlets and urged consumers to stay home, brick-and-mortar sales dropped consistently during the most critical months of the pandemic.
Yet while e-commerce initially replaced retail sales, the effect of the lockdown on the e-commerce surge likely diminished. Rather, because online pet food sales were rapidly growing before the pandemic, it was logical that e-commerce continued to boom in the middle of the outbreak, no matter the access to brick-and-mortar stores.
Online pet food sales increased rapidly enough in 2020 to become a nascent force in the Mexican market. According to Triplethree estimates, premium pet food e-commerce grew more than 100% compared to 2019, to reach nearly 5% of the total premium pet food market in volume terms.
Petco and Maskota are the largest pet food chains in Mexico, but a few online platforms, such as Amazon and Mercado Libre, are shaping the market due to larger scale.
One feature of the Amazon Mexico platform is the consistency of the product array and best-selling products. For example, Nupec Adulto (green packaging) led the platform’s sales during the entire year, as it was ranked the best-selling product nearly every day in 2020. The product features 3,344 customer reviews, including 89% of them granting a five-star rating. Other Nupec products also made it to Amazon’s top 10 during the year.
On Petco.com in Mexico, Proplan Sensitive Skin is currently the best-selling product. The platform ranked other Proplan varieties as best-selling at some point in 2020.
In the Mexican market, the online platforms of Amazon, Petco and Maskota (to some extent) usually publish two prices for each product offered: a discount price and the regular price. The tactic is a competitive feature exclusive to an online platform, providing an incentive over shopping at traditional retail outlets. Along with many other benefits that internet sales offer, it seems that such a pricing strategy has, at some level, supported the increasing interest from shoppers to shift to the online environment.
With online premium pet food sales booming during the pandemic, platforms that possess a sound distribution capacity, such as Amazon, have emerged even stronger. At the same time, Nupec has reinforced its leadership in the online premium segment and become the best-selling pet food product online.
It is foreseeable that online sales will continue to rise in Mexico regardless of the pandemic and the economic outlook, as consumers are more used to purchasing online today.
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Iván Franco is the founder of Triplethree International and has collaborated on hundreds of research projects for several consumer goods industries. He was granted the Global Consultant of the Year award by Euromonitor International and authored the book 17 Market Strategies for Growth (in Spanish).
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