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The Cross-Channel Clash for Pet Product Sales

Shoppers now routinely buy  pet products both in-store and online, and across mass-market and specialty channels.




E-commerce sales of pet products likely reached $30.7 billion in 2022, or 36% of the total, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.

That’s up from only 16% of pet product sales in 2017, the market research firm notes in U.S. Pet Product Retail and Internet Shopping Trends.

With the e-commerce share projected to reach 45% of the total by 2026, in-store sales continue to account for the majority, but decreasingly so.

In keeping with larger consumer market trends, shoppers now routinely buy  pet products both in-store and online, and across mass-market and specialty channels. Among Walmart’s customer base of pet product buyers, for example, half (51%) also buy pet products through supermarkets, a third (33%) also buy online, and a fourth  (27%) also buy through pet specialty stores.

Measuring by pet specialty vs. other types of retailers, Packaged Facts estimates the pet specialty share of pet product sales at 40% in 2022, with some gains over the past five years due to the success of Chewy,, and other pet-products-only websites.

Looking ahead, however, retailers outside of the pet specialty space should have the edge in pet product sales growth, according to Packaged Facts. This advantage stems not only from the strength of Amazon and of Walmart’s e-commerce program, but from the sheer numerical advantage of retail chains and online/catalog players outside of the pet specialty space.


A factor worth watching here, according to the report, is online shopping/home delivery for groceries, a COVID-19 fueled general market trend that could finally give top supermarket chains a chance to recover some pet product sales lost to the likes of Walmart, PetSmart, Amazon, and Chewy.

For general market retailers and e-tailers, being competitive in pet products isn’t just about pet food and cat litter sales, Packaged Facts explains. Over half of U.S. households have pets, and over 90% of adults with pets consider them to be members of the family—such that the term “pet parents” has been long been stealing share from the more dispassionate (and increasingly presumptuous-sounding) “pet owners.”

Because of the centrality of pets to so many American households, according to report analyst David Sprinkle, “no mass marketer worth its salt competes for a top share-of-wallet in household goods without a robust and on-trend pet department.”



NASC Media Spotlight

At first it was just an idea: Animal supplements needed the same quality control that human-grade supplements receive. But that was enough to start a movement and an organization —the National Animal Supplement Council — that would be dedicated to establishing a comprehensive path forward for the animal supplements industry. In this Media Spotlight interview, NASC’s president, Bill Bookout, talks to PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita about the industry today: Where it’s headed, what’s the latest focus and why it’s vital to gain the involvement of independent pet product retailers.

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