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Pet Food Sales on Amazon Hit $1B

Blue Buffalo was the top-selling brand.

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BOSTON — Pet food sales on Amazon.com reached an estimated $1 billion in 2018, up 20 percent compared to 2017, according to data from Edge by Ascential.

According to the firm, the top five pet food brands (and their share of total pet food sales) on Amazon for 2018 were:

  1. Blue Buffalo (11%)
  2. Purina (9%)
  3. Hill’s (8%)
  4. Wellness (6%)
  5. Greenies (5%)

“Blue Buffalo’s continued top-selling status illustrates how important it is for brands to incorporate in their packaging what consumers are looking for: healthier pet foods,” said Pete Andrews, director of insights at Edge by Ascential. “Blue Buffalo’s top seller contains the keywords ‘Protection Formula’ and ‘Natural’ in the title.

“The brand includes in-depth content on their product detail pages along with complete ingredient lists, nutritional information, numerous customer reviews and peer-answered questions. The Blue Buffalo brand understands how important community is to the pet owner, whether they are shopping online or in-store. By encouraging consumer interaction on Amazon, brands can recreate some of the interactivity that pet owners value from brick-and-mortar stores.”

Other top-performing brands on Amazon in 2018 like No. 2 Purina (up 13 percent year-over-year), No. 10 Rachael Ray (up 27 percent) and No. 6 Fancy Feast (up 17 percent) demonstrate that pet owners are choosing brands with “the right combination of pet nutrition and shopper value,” according to Edge by Ascential.

“Amazon’s own label Wag, launched halfway through 2018, brought in almost $2 million in sales in 2018, a negligible share in the current Pet Food category,” Andrews said. “Not long after its Wag launch, Amazon began offering its dry dog food under the Solimo private brand as well. Much of the on-page content is nearly identical but Solimo actually offers more A+ content and a cheaper equivalent to Wag.

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“Whether this is an A/B test on Amazon’s part to identify the effects of small product differences on sales or a transition away from Wag is yet to be determined – but it does suggest that Amazon is not yet ready to challenge major pet food brands head-on while they still gather experimental data.”

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Pet Insurance Firm Says Anti-Vaccination Movement Poses Threat to Animals

The beliefs ‘are spilling over into pet parenting.’

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The anti-vaccination movement has spread to pets, and that could be dangerous, according to Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.

Rob Jackson, CEO of Healthy Paws, told People.com that his company has noticed a decline in dogs getting their “core” vaccinations. That includes vaccines against rabies vaccine, parvovirus, distemper and adenovirus-2.

“Anti-vaccination sentiments are spilling over into pet parenting,” he said.

A blog post on the company’s website states:

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Much like the human anti-vaccination movement, pet parents’ reasons run the gamut, but at the core they all lead back to a belief that vaccinations can be harmful to pets. Some are concerned that vaccines trigger immune disorders and life-threatening side effects, while others think pets can gain immunity much like humans can – through exposure.

The company also noted: “Our pets rely on us to take care and protect them, and vaccinations are one way we can fulfill this promise.”

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Internet Sensation Grumpy Cat Dies At Age 7

She was one of social media’s first pet influencers.

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Grumpy Cat, an internet sensation and pioneer of the pets-as-influencers trend, has died at age 7, CNN reports.

Her owner, Tabatha Bundesen of Morristown, AZ, wrote on Twitter:

Despite care from top professionals, as well as from her very loving family, Grumpy encountered complications from a recent urinary tract infection that unfortunately became too tough for her to overcome. She passed away peacefully on the morning of Tuesday, May 14, at home in the arms of her mommy, Tabatha.

The cat, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, rose to prominence on Reddit in 2012. At the time of her death, Grumpy Cat had 8.5 million fans on Facebook, 2.4 million followers on Instagram and 1.5 million followers on Twitter.

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CNN notes that she also “inspired art projects, perfumes, merchandise, Skechers shoes, comics and even a ‘Grumppuccino’ coffee.”

Grumpy Cat had feline dwarfism, and her owners said that’s likely what caused her distinctive appearance.

Read more at CNN

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Dog Pee Might Be Bad News for Cities — Here’s Why

A study suggests it harms ‘green infrastructure.’

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Dog urine may be undermining cities’ efforts to keep sewer systems from overflowing, a new study suggests.

Cities’ “green infrastructure,” such as street trees, helps to absorb rainwater, Popular Science notes. But these areas also happen to attracts lots of dogs that need to do their business.

And the urine might be making soil in those areas less absorbent because of its low pH and its nitrogen content, according to a study by Columbia University undergraduate and graduate researchers. It also may be causing the soil microbiome to become less diverse.

In areas such as sidewalk tree pits, ““the soils seemed barren, compacted, and the water from rainfall didn’t seem to penetrate very well,” ecologist Krista McGuire, who led the research, said of her reason for starting the project.

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The researchers explained in their paper:

“Our study investigated the effects of canine urine on the urban soil microbial communities in a greenhouse experiment by treating Liriope muscari, a common plant found in New York City green infrastructure, with different concentrations of canine urine for 4 weeks in an experimental setting. We found that urine application significantly decreased total soil microbial biomass and microbial richness, and increased water runoff volume.”

Read more at Popular Science

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