Chewy to open pet food, treat e-commerce hub in Missouri

Pet food, treat and product e-commerce giant Chewy plans to open a new fulfillment center in Belton, Missouri, USA.

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(Andrea Gantz)
(Andrea Gantz)

Adapted from a press release:

Pet food, treat and other product e-commerce giant Chewy plans to open a new fulfillment center in Belton, Missouri, USA.

“This 800,000-square-foot project will complete the Commerce Center and bring more than 1,200 new jobs to our community,” Belton Mayor Jeff Davis said in a press release.

Dual-headquartered in Dania Beach, Florida and Boston, Massachusetts, the company is an online retailer offering pet food and pet-related products from over 2,000 brands. Founded in 2011, Chewy operates out of more than 15 locations across the U.S., including 6.1 million square feet of fulfillment. Chewy’s new Kansas City operation at Southview Commerce Center will be one of the largest fulfillment centers in its network by square footage.

“We are thrilled to open our first fulfillment center in Missouri and continue to grow our team,” said Diane Pelkey, vice president of communications and public relations at Chewy, in a press release.

Missouri worked with a number of regional partners in attracting Chewy to the Kansas City area, including the Kansas City Area Development Council, Missouri Partnership, City of Belton, Cushman & Wakefield, NorthPoint Development, Evergy, Spire, QPS Employment Services, Aerotek and KC SmartPort.

By 2024, e-commerce pet product sales may be top channel

Previously on Petfood Industry:

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated e-commerce sales trends in the pet food market, contributing to the increasing dominance of online dog, cat and other pet food sales. The past decade left the pet food industry in a relatively good position to withstand the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to food service, tourism or other decimated sectors. Over time, pets have become part of the family for many pet owners worldwide, as opposed to livestock with benefits, spurring premium pet food sales growth. During the pandemic this meant that pet owners stockpiled dog and cat food along with their own provisions. Beyond that, pet adoptions swelled in the early days of the pandemic. As people then hunkered down with pets both new and old, online pet food sales’ prominence in the market grew at a faster pace than before COVID-19.

Pet food online sales growth

By 2024, industry observers forecast that e-commerce will become the top retail sales channel for pet products. This year, online sales of pet products will make up 27% of all sales, according to Packaged Facts analysts in the report “U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2020-2021: The COVID-19 Impact.”

Two major players in the pet food e-commerce space, Chewy.com and Amazon, lead online sales with three quarters of the market and seem likely to maintain that dominance. In 2020, Chewy.com may see sales of US$6.5 billion, if Packaged Facts estimates prove true, up from US$3.96 billion in 2018. Amazon’s pet products sales may reach US$5.7 billion, climbing from US$3.3 billion in 2018. Along with the two giants, many brick-and-mortar retailers have also moved their sales online. Retails also increasingly use buy online and pick up in store systems.

Pet owners buying and learning online

Pet owners who purchase online, according to Packaged Facts’ survey of pet owners earlier this year.

  • Amazon - 60%
  • Chewy - 54%
  • PetSmart.com - 27%
  • Walmart.com - 24%
  • Petco.com - 23%

Along with buying more pet food online, pet owners increasingly look to digital sources of information about their pets. While veterinarians remain the most trusted source for both baby boomers (77%), Generation X and millennials (66%), Packaged Facts’ survey respondents have differing views on the internet. Twenty-five percent of millennials and the younger generation Z, selected social media, including Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, as their most important source of pet care information. Whereas only 18% of Gen X responded as such, along with 7% of boomers and seniors.

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