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Pet Parent Concern Fuels Market Growth for Pet Medications

Pet owners are thinking more proactively when it comes to pet health.

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U.S. retail sales of pet medications — including sales through veterinarians, brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers — reached $12 billion in 2022, according to Packaged Facts’ just-released Pet Medications in the US, 8th Edition report.

Packaged Facts estimates that the vet channel continues to dominate the market, at 71% of total sales. By type of pet, dog medications represent the majority of sales, at 69%. By product type, parasiticides (which include flea/tick preventatives, heartworm preventatives and other dewormer medications) make up the largest share of the market, at 59%.

Packaged Facts survey data show that although pet food tops the list of products that pet parents consider “most important” to pet health (at 81%), flea/tick medications (57%) and heartworm medications (47%) claim the next two spots.

Growth in the pet medications market has slowed since the large pandemic-era increases in 2020 and 2021, with those two years the biggest contributors to the market’s 2018-2022 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5%. The more recent inflationary conditions raised prices but cooled sales, with 2022 growth reaching only 3.7%.

Despite its centrality to the market, the veterinary sector experienced relatively lower growth in pet medication sales than the retail sector, reflecting the growing role of online sales and lower veterinary usage rates. In addition, market growth continues to be dampened by the entry of less expensive generic options – particularly as these generic versions infiltrate brick-and-mortar and online channels, where margins are lower. Even so, a strong pipeline of patented prescription drugs, along with unprecedented price inflation, has kept widespread price erosion at bay.

But as explained by Shannon Landry Brown, brand manager for Packaged Facts pet market research, “The ultimate support for pet medications market growth is ever-sharper pet parent focus on their pets’ health and wellness, in this pets-as-family era.”

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Forefronted by the COVID-19 pandemic, pet health and wellness remains an ongoing concern and focus of attention among pet owners, with the pet medications market a key beneficiary. Packaged Facts’ February 2023 Survey of Pet Owners shows that:

  • 68% of dog owners and 67% of cat owners look for products to improve their pet’s health and wellness.
  • 21% of dog owners and 22% of cat owners continue to pay closer attention to their pets’ health and wellness because of COVID-19.
  • After spending far more time than usual with their pets due to pandemic restrictions, pet owners are thinking more proactively when it comes to pet health, taking preventative measures such as staying up to date on their pets’ pest control needs and vaccinations.

 

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