As a kid I had a dog, and up until recently I had a cat. Now, as a member of a household without a pet, I’m in the minority, as nearly two-thirds of the households in our country include a pet.
That fact explains why consumers spent $60.28 billion on pets last year, with sales projected to climb to $63 billion in 2016. Industry experts call pet care spending “recession resistant.”
It should be no surprise, then, that pet care is the top ranked category in sales among the 256 categories sold in U.S. supermarkets, drug stores and mass market retailers. And dry dog food ranks as the number two trip driver to supermarkets, behind pharmacy and ahead of milk. (Bananas must be number three, as every shopping cart seems to have them!)
“If you’re not winning in pet, you’re losing,” said Paul Cooke of Nestle Purina PetCare Company. “We know that the loss of a grocery pet shopper leads to an overall 12 percent loss in grocery store trips. So, prioritizing the pet category in-store and catering to these shoppers has never been more important to the health of total store sales.”
According to Supermarket News, retailers must establish the right product mix, retail display and value equation, and also connect with the pet shopper on an emotional level. Appealing to pet owner’s hearts could hold the key to increasing total store sales.