News Hound

Tim Wall, senior reporter for Petfood Industry, explores interactions among culture, media, science and pet food. Wall presents his opinions on how animal behaviors, both human and pet, influence global dog, cat and other pet food markets.
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Pet food, treat impulse sales in gas, grocery check-out

The pandemic may have increased U.S. consumers' expenditures on impulse items, reported social shopping platform In a survey, U.S. consumers estimated an increase in impulse purchases of up to 18% in 2021. In January 2020, American impulse spending averaged US$155.03 per month, according to the platform's. By April 2020, monthly impulse spending had increased to US$183. Basic items like food, clothing, household items and shoes make up most of those purchases, as opposed to luxury goods. Twenty percent of survey respondents said they made impulse purchases for their pets.

Could the pet food industry increase the amount of impulse spending by pet owners?

Pet food and treat retailers have already formed a symbiosis with home improvement centers. Check-out lines at gas stations and grocery stores seem like potential spaces within stores where pet food companies could find impulse sales. Currently, I’m not aware of dog or cat treats sold near the registers at food, drug and mass market retail outlets near me here in Missouri. Maybe there are regulations against it, but I’m not aware of any.

Potential impulse sales of pet food

Summer travel season approaches, and folks may be itching for a road trip with their pets after two years of movement restrictions. People who bring their dogs on road trips seem like they would also be a likely group to buy a superpremium pet treat for the road after grabbing an energy bar for themselves. As it is for pet owners like me, gas stations feel like the place you go when you realize you are out of pet food and everywhere else is closed. Perhaps gas stations could also be a place to grab superpremium treats or portable pet meals impulsively for the same reasons parents snag a quick snack for the kids, convenience and the need to maintain peace on the road.

In grocery stores, pet owners may be making more one-stop shopping trips after pandemic taught the value of stockpiling and reducing trips to store. Now, as gas prices rise, pet owners may be looking to maintain that pandemic habit of fewer trips, along with new pressure for shorter trips. Petfood Industry has reported on the benefits to pet food e-commerce, along with the massive sales spike in the early pandemic. Potentially, pet food and treats could find another way into the carts of shoppers as they make fewer trips to fewer locations. The check-out line could make one last effort at an impulse sale of pet foods or treats.

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