By 2025, pet food e-commerce will account for 55% of all pet food sales in the United States, a new report from Packaged Facts predicts, “US Pet Market Update: Pet Food Focus, 2021.” This will follow a jump from 32% of US sales in 2020 to an expected 37% by the end of 2021.
The report notes that “Packaged Facts categorizes all purchases initiated online in this category – including sales through digital storefronts of traditional retailers (such as Walmart.com or Petsmart.com) – regardless of online purchase, receipt In-store (BOPIS) or sidewalk dynamics.”
This classification makes sense in the wake of the spread of e-commerce across the global economy even before the COVID-19 pandemic; The shutdowns and the resulting health concerns (still continuing into late 2021 in some regions and parts of the world) have expanded the many ways consumers now shop and buy online and in many different product categories.
The epidemic forever changed the purchase of pet food
It should be noted that the facts packed before the pandemic projected that the share of e-commerce in US pet food sales would reach 24% by 2025. Because of the pandemic, online sales exceeded this forecast in 2020 to the final share of 32%.
In February 2021, a Laminated Facts survey of US dog and cat owners found that 34% reported significant changes in the channels in which they purchased pet food and other pet products: At that point, 40% said they were shopping more online. The Internet, while 39% said they frequented brick-and-mortar stores less.
Not surprisingly, online pet food sales have come at the expense of in-store sales, which were flat from 2020 to 2021, according to Packaged Facts. This decline is expected to continue, as the brick-and-mortar share of US pet food sales is expected to decline from 63% in 2021 to 45% in 2025.
This is happening as US pet food sales continue to grow: a projected 6.4% rise from 2020 to 2021, with a CAGR from 2020 to 2025 of 6.6%. According to Packaged Facts, most of this growth isn’t just happening in the e-commerce channel; Increased sales in that channel also helps drive overall market growth.
Among a short list of factors accounting for dollar sales growth, Packaged Facts cites “the intertwined rapid acceleration of online sales led by Chewy.com and Amazon.com, whose rapid advances have more than offset the hurdles caused by brick-and-mortar sales.”
If you can’t beat them, join them
The outlook for brick-and-mortar niches isn’t exactly terrible; In fact, the pandemic has caused many to adapt to the world of e-commerce and take advantage of the growing trend of online ordering and pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) or at the curb. The retailer still gets to sell, while pet owners can still support their local business if they so desire. For specialty pet retailers, the pet grooming industry in general has ramped up with networks and programs to help even small, independent pet stores take part in the online sales boom.
In fact, “e-commerce, which is of particular importance in the pet food sector due to frequent and bulk purchases, is intense activity among brick-and-mortar retailers including BOPIS, curbside delivery and same-day/two-day delivery,” says the Package Facts Report. .
With e-commerce continuing its rapid upward march, it appears that the days of shopping only in physical stores will continue to attract less focus and consumer activity, and not just for pet food and other pet products.