No Bones About it: The Pet Category is a Real Growth Opportunity

No Bones About it: The Pet Category is a Real Growth Opportunity

Pets today are more a part of the American family than ever. And as a result, pet owners are increasingly interested in pet food options that address many of the same health concerns that are influencing human food production, such as unnatural preservatives and genetically modified ingredients. While the humanization of pet food isn’t a new trend, it may offer more of an opportunity than retailers and manufacturers realize.

There’s no denying the strength of the perimeter of the store, especially as increasing increased personalization takes hold, but the pet aisle—with a value of nearly $20 billion—shouldn’t be ignored. The pet care category alone has grown two times that of the overall center of store over the past five years, evidence that pet owners are keen to continue splurging on their furry family members—fueling category growth along the way.

But there’s more upside to the pet aisle than just category dollar spend. In fact, the pet care category triggers more trips to the grocery store than any other category, with 57% of pet care category needs prompting a shopping trip. In looking at the total store, categories that drive shopping trips are critically important to manufacturers and retailers because they generate more in-store traffic than other categories.

The importance of the pet care category will not diminish over time. The extension of healthier choices and lifestyles into pet care is not a fad. Rather, it’s a fundamental shift in consumer behavior and preference. But capitalizing on this shift isn’t as simple as stocking the shelves and opening the store’s front doors. Consumers have too many options on the paths to purchase, which means that grocery and mass retailers need to focus on consumer demand and forge shopping experiences that leverage real growth drivers and emphasize personalized product offerings.


The insights in this article were derived from:

  • The Humanization of Pet Food, March 2016
  • Nielsen Category Shopping Fundamentals 2015
  • Identifying & Capturing “Real Growth” at Retail: The Super Premium Pet Opportunity, The Cambridge Group
  • Nielsen Retail Measurement data, all outlets combined 52 weeks ended April 2, 2016