Petco, PetSmart draw more US dog food buyers than cat

Combined, PetSmart and Petco sold products to 47% of dog- or cat-owning households in 2018, which equaled approximately 29.9 million households.

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Photo courtesy of Petco
Photo courtesy of Petco

Dog owners may tend to shop at Petco and PetSmart at higher rates than cat owners in the United States. In the report “U.S. Pet Market Focus: Pet Specialty Channel and Internet Shoppers,” Packaged Facts’ pet food industry analysts used survey data to calculate that the two pet specialty superstores attract 48% of dog-owning households. On the other hand, 44% of cat owners shop at Petco or PetSmart, partly because of supermarket’s strength in cat food and litter.

Combined, PetSmart and Petco sold products to 47% of dog- or cat-owning households in 2018, which equaled approximately 29.9 million households. That percentage of cat and/or dog owners grew from 41% in 2008. In 2018, approximately 23.4 million dog- or cat-owning households shopped at PetSmart, while 17.6 million patronized Petco. The rest of the pet specialty retail channel drew 9.2 million dog- or cat-owning households, including traditional independent pet stores as well as pet chains other than the big two.

In 2019, Packaged Facts analysts estimate that PetSmart and Petco in-store product sales will reach US$9.7 billion, with US$5.9 billion for PetSmart and US$3.8 billion in sales for Petco. Combined Petco and PetSmart’s in-store sales may make up 18% of all U.S. pet food, treat and other product sales, 11% for PetSmart and 7% for Petco. However, analysts expect this to decline to 17% by 2023.

Cross-shopping in pet specialty retail

The groups of pet owners shopping at the PetSmart and Petco are not mutually exclusive. Forty-eight percent of PetSmart customers also buy products at Petco, while 63% of Petco patrons also purchase at PetSmart. Nor do those shoppers eschew mass market retailers. More than 40% of both Petco and PetSmart shoppers also visit supermakets for their pet food, treats and other product needs.

The greatest competitors to the big two pet specialty store aren’t supermarkets though. Packaged Facts analysts stated that veterinarians, other specialty pet store and e-commerce stand to challenge Petco and PetSmart’s positions.

Packaged Facts analysts created their report using Simmons Research Fall 2018 booklet-based consumer surveys of nearly 23,000 individuals and conducted from October 22, 2017 through November 29, 2018, along with Packaged Facts’ online surveys of 2,000 pet owners.

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