When we welcome in a new year in a few weeks, we can all celebrate knowing that global pet care sales will have reached a new high of US$98 billion for 2014, according to Euromonitor International. Even better, that figure represents 10% growth over the last five years, despite the challenging economy. In the past 10 years, Euromonitor said, the global pet care market (all pet products, not just petfood) has added US$20 billion in sales.


The research firm delivered this good news in a webinar, “Driving Pet Care: Leveraging Retailers’ Full Potential.” It started with a market overview that included petfood data and the point that Euromonitor projected premium petfood sales to increase 3% from 2014 to 2019. While that is not a high level, any growth is good in these volatile times; and the level could rise as pet owners around the world increasingly trade up to higher-priced petfoods and both petfood marketers and consumers focus on features like functional ingredients, according to Euromonitor.


Of the US$98 billion in overall pet care sales, dog food accounts for nearly half, about US$45 billion, with dog treats making up about another $6 billion. Cat food comes in at about US$27 billion and cat treats, about US$1 billion.


Looking at petfood in terms of pricing categories, Euromonitor said that economy-priced products comprise just under 20% of global sales of dog and cat food, with premium products taking a full 20%. Mid-priced products account for the remainder of the market, about 62%.


Despite Euromonitor’s somewhat bullish outlook on premium petfoods, the rate of adoption varies considerably around the world. For example, in fast-growing Latin America, where Euromonitor projects petfood sales in Brazil to reach US$6.4 billion by 2019 and US$1.1 billion in Mexico, value- and mid-priced products (especially dog food) still account for the bulk of petfood purchases. Still, several dog food or treat categories, including premium, have been among the fastest growing for the past five years, with double-digit increases in some cases.


In Eastern Europe, cats reign: Cat treats sales have grown nearly 30% from 2009-2014, with premium cat food increasing about 15%. Cat treats have also been the fastest growing category in North America (10% growth) and Western Europe (8%), with dog treats close behind.


The webinar also delved into changes in pet retailing. Currently, online pet care sales total US$4.3 billion, just a small portion of overall pet care sales and even less of online sales of all products (.5% of US$840 billion). Yet, if you look at just online petfood sales, those account for 3% of all online food and drink sales globally.*


Changes in “bricks and mortar” pet retail channels have been even more dynamic in the past 10 years, with hypermarkets (Euromonitor’s term for large mass market outlets, I believe) and supermarkets growing the most. Supermarkets now comprise US$21 billion of global pet care sales, and hypermarkets contribute another US$14 billion.


Pet shops and pet superstores have definitely held their share of the market, despite the growth in other channels. Currently, pet shops account for US$18 billion in global pet care sales, with pet superstores—primarily a US phenomenon, with 63% of global pet superstore sales—at US$15 billion.


In the next five years, Euromonitor projected discount stores to have a larger impact on the pet market, along with new players in online pet care sales, such as Internet giants Amazon and Google. The firm also sees pure online establishments moving into bricks and mortar; one example given was TiendAnimal.com, based in Spain.


*Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that Euromonitor projected online sales of pet products to grow 33% through 2019. The 33% growth is actually forecast for growth for mobile internet retailing for all product categories, not just pet products.


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dphillips@wattnet.net