The pet industry continues to outperform other consumer markets in the U.S. And following years of flat sales, pet specialty retailers have been doing especially well during the pandemic, with sales rising 18% in 2021 to reach $31 billion (including in-store, online, and services sales) following another double-digit percentage advance in 2020. Much of this success owes to the online boom, with Chewy leading the pure play internet pet specialty pack. But brick-and-mortar sales have been improving as well thanks to retailers’ focus on veterinary and non-medical services, as well as additional services such as BOPUS (buy online, pick up at store) and rapid home delivery. This report provides a comprehensive examination of the factors behind the success of the pet specialty channel as well as the challenges and opportunities facing retailers in 2022 and beyond.
The business of pet specialty retailing has never been more complex in terms of the many types of omnichannel players fighting for market share. Focusing on the performance of pet specialty retailers between 2017 and 2021 and projecting sales through 2026, U.S. Pet Market Focus: Pet Stores & Pet Specialty Retailing examines the channel in the context of retail competitors including mass-market retailers, general online retailers, and farm and feed retailers. It also explores competition within the pet specialty channel itself, with PetSmart and Petco garnering the majority of brick-and-mortar sales and Chewy accounting for a large majority of the online boom.
The analysis covers market share trends, marketing trends including private label, and the impact of the pandemic on pet owner behavior including shopping patterns, demographic trends, and cross-channel shopping. U.S. Pet Market Focus: Pet Stores & Pet Specialty Retailing, Packaged Facts contains numerous tables and figures providing detailed breakouts, as well as dozens of illustrations displaying key trends.
Scope of Report and Methodology
This report analyzes the pet specialty channel, defined as including products and services sold through brick-and-mortar-based retail chains and independent retailers, as well as online-only (aka pure play) retailers. The report provides in-depth quantifications of brick-and-mortar and online sales, and it contextualizes the pet specialty channel within the overall pet market. It delineates factors impacting the current market and potential future trends; the competitive situation both within the pet specialty channel and from other retailers; and marketing, retailing, and consumer trends detailing the shopping patterns and psychographics of individuals who own dogs and/or cats.
The information contained in this report was obtained from primary and secondary research. Primary research includes national online consumer polls of U.S. adult pet owners (age 18+) conducted on an ongoing basis by Packaged Facts, to measure purchasing patterns and attitudes regarding pet products and services. With sample sizes of approximately 2,000 pet owners, these surveys are based on national online research panels that are census representative on the primary demographic measures of age, gender, geographic region, race/ethnicity, and household income.
Extensive Secondary and Primary Research
Our consumer analysis draws mainly on two sources:
Packaged Facts’ Surveys of Pet Owners, primarily the ones conducted in February 2022 and May 2022. These surveys have a sample of 2,000 U.S. respondents age 18 or over who in aggregate are representative of the primary demographic measures of the U.S. Census Bureau including gender, age bracket, race/ethnicity, geographic region, household income bracket, and presence of children in the household.
MRI-Simmons booklet-based consumer surveys of a large and random sample of approximately 25,000 consumers through Spring 2022, who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. population. Note that MRI-Simmons releases correspond to an approximately 12-month roll-up of survey fielding ending in the quarter indicated; the respondents and results for adjacent surveys are therefore partially overlapping, rather than mutually exclusive. Field dates for the most current Spring 2022 survey were March 2021 through May 2022, while field dates for the preceding Spring 2021 survey were August 2020 through May 2021. As reflected in textual discussion and in the corresponding table or figure titles, therefore, MRI-Simmons Spring 2022 survey release data are best described as 2021/22 figures, and Spring 2021 data as 2020/21 figures, and so forth with historically trended data.
Our primary research also includes interviews with pet market experts and participation in pet industry events including the American Pet Products Association’s Global Pet Expos, Petfood Industry/Watt Publishing’s Petfood Forums, and the Pet Industry Leadership Summit, which is jointly presented by The American Pet Products Association (APPA), Pet Advocacy Network (formerly Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council), Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), and World Pet Association (WPA). The analysis also reflects on-site examination of retail and service provider venues and Internet canvassing.
Secondary research includes information- and data-gathering from consumer business and trade publications including Pet Age, Pet Business, Pet Product News International, Petfood Industry, and Petfood Processing; company profiles in trade and consumer publications; annual reports of companies in the pet market; and information culled from Packaged Facts’ extensive pet market research database and report collection. Our estimates of market size and company performance are based on reported revenues of pet product manufacturers, retailers, and pet services providers; background sales data from syndicated sales-tracking sources; surveys of independent and chain pet store retailers; government data including U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Surveys; and figures from other market research sources.
Our estimates of market size and company performance draw on reported revenues of pet product manufacturers and retailers; government data including U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Surveys; and figures from other market research and retail sales tracking sources.