Consumers are purchasing many
pet products online, so grocery
chains are solidifying their offerings
in an omni-channel world
BY NORA CALEY
The pet aisle is a lucrative one for grocery. According to Nielsen, the pet care category generates more in-store traf- fic than other categories, with 57 percent of pet care cat- egory needs prompting a shopping trip. Second is health, at 43 percent, followed by fresh, at 37 percent. That means
consumers are more likely to go to the supermarket to buy something
for Sparky and Fluffy than they are to fill a prescription or pick up
something for dinner.
Whether the pet owner is there to grab a can of dog food or take
home a bag of litter that they ordered online, these trips generate additional purchases. Retailers have responded with the time-tested ways to
make it easier to shop pet, such as refreshing the assortments, installing eye-catching displays, even trying the store-within-a-store concept
to make the pet section look like a boutique.
Grocery retailers are also updating their online presence, boosting
their private label offerings and developing programs to engage with
Visit Us, and Buy Something, Online
Many grocery chains are embracing e-commerce, including in their
pet assortments. While there have been some high-profile acquisitions
such as Walmart buying Jet.com and PetSmart buying Chewy.com,
some grocery chains are adapting to the omni-channel world and building their own online strategies. Others are partnering with third party
vendors to deliver items, even the bulky items that were once considered too difficult for online sales and delivery.
That might explain why the growth of online buying is having only
a small negative effect on the pet products category in grocery. While
many people are buying pet products from their smartphones or desk-tops, research suggests they are often buying from their usual brick-and-mortar stores.
In Packaged Facts’ recent U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2016-2017 report,
U.S. retail channel sales of pet products totaled $47.8 billion in 2016,
a 5. 4 percent increase over 2015. Pet specialty was the top channel by
share of sales with 23 percent, mass stores were second with 21 percent and supermarkets were third with 15 percent. Online ranked as
the fifth largest for pet products, with 9 percent share, but the internet
channel is growing the fastest.
Also, according to Packaged Facts, citing Experian Marketing
Services and Simmons National Consumer Survey, pet owners are
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