America continues to confront the difficult socio-economic effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic. But the U.S. pet industry is famously recession resistant, and even as COVID-19-triggered impacts on American lives and businesses persist, a number of silver linings have come into focus, representing opportunities for the pet industry broadly and digital pet services and products specifically, reports Packaged Facts in the recent market research study Digital Pet Care Products and Services: E-commerce and E-connectivity.
For over a decade, online sales have been booming. But the pandemic has fast-tracked e-commerce like never before. Due to store closures and safety measures, nearly two-thirds of U.S. pet owners (64%) are ordering/buying online more, almost half (49%) are ordering/buying more via smartphone, and over two-fifths (43%) are buying groceries online more, based on Packaged Facts’ April/May Survey of Pet Owners. In the same survey, 31% of pet owners report using curbside pickup more for grocery shopping, with 25% using curbside pickup for the first time.
At the same time, the internet is becoming an essential “pet care assistant”—and doubly so in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Riding the trend, two well-funded start-ups fielding Airbnb- and Lyft-type apps—Rover and Wag!—have taken the market for on-call pet sitting, walking, and boarding services by storm. Meanwhile, technological innovation continues to invigorate non-food pet supplies across many categories, resulting in booming sales of pet tech products.
Well before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March 2020, telehealth based on app- and cloud-based technologies was beginning to catch on in the veterinary business. Capabilities and levels of sophistication vary, but all the new platforms have in common smartphone apps designed to involve pet owners more deeply in the healthcare of their pets. Consumer attitudes toward veterinary telemedicine are largely favorable, with nearly half (45%) of pet owners agreeing that they like the idea and 16% strongly agreeing, based on Packaged Facts’ February/March 2020 Survey of Pet Owners.
For the pet industry as a whole, the brightest note has been the pandemic-driven surge in pet adoption and fostering, giving the market a welcome infusion of new pet ownership that will benefit the business for years to come.
About the Report
Packaged Facts’ first-edition Digital Pet Care Products and Services: E-commerce and E-connectivity report examines all of these trends in depth in a volume crafted to assist pet industry participants in capitalizing fully on emergent opportunities in the time of coronavirus, after the medical crisis recedes, and well into the future of a U.S. pet industry forecast to exceed $100 billion within the two years.