Global differences in pet food purchasing channels

Worldwide, pet owners may continue diversifing their pet food buying channels, looking for the brands they want at affordable prices.

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Pet owners around the world buy their companion animals’ meals from supermarkets more than any other channel. However, that tendency is changing in many regions with differences around the globe. In October 2022, market research group TGM Research surveyed 15,000 people in 40 nations about pet ownership. The survey revealed where consumers purchase pet foods in different countries.

“Supermarkets remain the leading channel for pet food purchases worldwide, capturing 46% of consumers,” Thuyen Vu, chief marketing officer, told Petfood Industry in an email. “However, other channels are gaining momentum.

Europe – Pet specialty chains and online platforms have emerged as strong alternatives to mass market retailers, Vu said.

Asia-Pacific – Considering that Asia contains nations as distinct as India, China and Indonesia, it's not surprising that pet owners have diversified preferences for pet food purchasing channels, including independent stores, online. Across the region there is a distinct tendency for homemade pet food, she said.

Middle East and North Africa – In these predominantly Muslim nations, the preference leans towards independent pet retailers and convenience stores.

Africa – South of the Sahara Desert, pet owners prefer homemade pet food.

North America – After supermarkets, independent pet stores and online channels are popular options.

Latin America – In these regions colonized mostly by Spain and Portugal, there is an inclination towards independent pet stores, followed by convenience stores.

Omnichannel pet shopping is a dominant trend

The survey from TGM Research backs up what Andrea Binder, vice president of retail account development at NielsenIQ, said during her Global Pet Expo 2024 presentation on March 21 in Orlando, Florida, USA. In the U.S. pet food market, which is the world’s largest, 78.1% of dollars spent in pet care are spent by shoppers who patronize multiple channels. Among U.S. pet owners, 57.0% of buyers reported themselves to be omnichannel shoppers in 2023, up 1.5% from 2022.

Pet owners buying products exclusively from brick-and-mortar retailers accounted for 39.7% of buyers in 2023, down 1.2% from the previous years. Those in-person-only pet product purchasers accounted for 19.3% of dollars spend on pet products. Despite the growth of online retail during the pandemic, only 3.3% of U.S. pet owners bought supplies online exclusively, accounting for only 2.5% of dollars spent on pet products.

Worldwide, pet owners may continue diversify their pet food buying channels, looking for the brands they want at affordable prices.

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