Sellers of online pet products have reason to be optimistic. While many industries have taken a hit during the pandemic, the pet product market appears to be recession resistant. According to the American Pet Products Association, retail pet supply sales in the U.S. are expected to reach $99 billion in 2020, up from $95.7 billion in 2019.
Many analysts attribute this to a surge in pet adoptions during the initial lockdown period after the outbreak of COVID-19. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported a 70% spike in pet adoptions in New York City and Los Angeles this spring, with many other rescue centers experiencing a similar surge of animals entering foster programs.
Despite this good news, pet brands need to adapt to consumer shopping changes to remain competitive. In 2019, the industry saw a 53% increase in e-commerce sales while brick and mortar sales grew by just 0.7%. With COVID-19 forcing consumers to stay at home for much of the year, this shift to online shopping is growing even stronger. Newly released data from eMarketer shows that pet supplies have become the 5th largest purchase category for Amazon Prime members, with 37% of users purchasing a pet product in June 2020 (up from 30% in February).
As a full-service channel management marketplace agency that helps businesses succeed on digital marketplaces like Amazon, Channel Key can confirm that some of our clients are experiencing changes that reflect these market trends. For example, one of our clients provides all-natural treats for dogs. During the initial onset of COVID-19, the number of units sold along with total overall sales increased by more than 30% MoM on Amazon.
The sudden spike created inventory issues for our client as they struggled to keep up with demand. To avoid the risk of running out of stock on these items, Channel Key helped our client pivot their marketing strategy to focus on products that were not bestsellers until inventory for their most popular products could be replenished. Despite challenges in the market due to COVID-19, our client saw a 44.12% total YoY growth in Amazon sales from 2019 to 2020 for the months of January to June, supporting market forecasts that online pet supply sales will continue to rise.
Four Predictions for the Future of Pet Supplies
It’s no secret that COVID-19 is changing the way consumers shop, or that adapting successfully to new market trends is paramount to success. In a time when uncertainty has become the new normal, research is more important than ever in forecasting changes in your industry. While it’s impossible to know what the future holds, the U.S. Pet Industry Spending Figures & Future Outlook offers four key predictions for the pet supply industry:
- A continued surge in online shopping for pet products as pet owners flock to the internet for home delivery or curbside/parking lot pickup from brick-and-mortar pet stores and veterinarians
- A sharp uptick on veterinary telehealth services
- A private-label surge as cash-strapped pet owners face months (if not years) of economic uncertainty and a demand-driven uptick in store-brand production
- A silver lining of increased dog and cat ownership among households eager for the emotional support and physical comfort of pets
One thing is certain: e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon are becoming increasingly important for brands in the COVID-19 era. The pet supplies market is just one example where the growth in online sales shows no sign of slowing, but there are many more. As a proven channel management marketplace agency, Channel Key pays close attention to market research and consumer trends in order to help our clients adapt successfully. To learn more about the latest market data in your specific industry, contact us today for a free consultation.