Sep 21, 2018

Pet Care Becoming a Trip Driver for Retailers

Pet care products are carving out a larger share of weekly retail promotions - becoming a trip driver for retailers.

The number of people with pets in the U.S. is on the rise, particularly for Millennials – in which three-fourths of adults in their 30s have a dog and 51% have a cat. According to The Institute for Family Studies, the estimated number of pets in the U.S. increased by nearly 54 million from 2012 to 2017.

This explosion in pet ownership rightly has retailers looking more and more at pet categories as a key to driving trips to their stores and online. According to our promotional data, pet care products are carving out a larger share of weekly retail promotions among grocery, mass, drug, and dollar stores. When we looked at pet care print promotions at key retailers this year compared to last year, we found an increase in ad share, particularly for dog care products, at all of the retailers studied except for Safeway and Target. However, retailers CVS and Kroger increased dog category promotions by 5%.


Interestingly, recent consumer trends have also spilled over into the pet category. Not only are pet owners eating healthier, but they’ve insisted more and more that their pets’ diets follow similar patterns. Newer, higher-end entrants into the pet category, like Blue Buffalo, are putting pressure on incumbent pet brands. Blue Buffalo saw a big increase in retailer promotional support in the 12 months ending June 2018, taking share away from manufacturers like Mars and Nestle. Surprisingly, Blue Buffalo was the pet care brand most likely to appear on the front page of retailer circular promotions over the 12 months ending June 2018.


Whether practicing for parenthood, or adopting a pet instead of having kids, Millennials are giving retailers a big reason to refine their assortment, advertising, promotions, and pricing when it comes to pet food, pet toys, pet health, and other pet subcategories. These categories are already replacing the promotional space previously occupied by other grocery and CPG categories, and within the category itself, emerging brands are stealing market share by the day by following the formula that many emerging brands in other categories have found success with.