US retail sales of durable petcare products for dogs and cats totalled
$3.8 billion (€3 billion) in 2016, up from $3 billion (€2.4 billion) in 2011.
This reflects an annual growth rate of 3% to 4% over recent years.
Fragmented durables market
The manufacturer landscape is similarly diverse, with the top players competing in multiple categories, some under a single brand umbrella (as is the case with Hartz), while others field multiple category-specific brands (for example: Spectrum and Central Garden & Pet). Additional influential multi-category competitors are the private-label and exclusive-brand lines of PetSmart and Petco, and the store brands of major supermarkets, drugstores, and dollar stores.
As in the overall pet market, dogs account for the bulk of durable petcare product sales: 70% in 2016, compared with 30% for cats. Dogs lead across all product categories (except the cat-exclusive litter accessories), with the lowest at 55% for bowls, feeders and waterers and the highest at 95% for apparel and fashion accessories. Half of US retail sales for this product arena are through the pet specialty channel, with over a third generated by pet specialty chains (primarily PetSmart and Petco).
The durables market, which accounts for a fourth of non-food pet product sales in the US, is fairly fragmented.
Packaged Facts survey data from January and February 2018 show that toys sales lead in unit volume for petcare durables in line with turnover volume, with 60% of dog or cat owners purchasing toys over a twelve-month period. Pet bed, bowls, collars, harnesses and leashes form a second tier, with 24-30% of dog or cat owners purchasing at least one item in these product segments annually.
The factors driving durable pet product sales mirror those in the overall petcare market:
- human and animal bond
- premiumisation (emphasis on and conversion of pet owners to higher-priced fare)
- natural and eco-friendly
- human-style and high-tech
From a marketing perspective, these interwoven trends make today’s pet owners highly receptive to products similar to the ones they use for themselves. In the same way that many types of pet food entering the market are directly reminiscent of human fare, this trend is evident in pet durables in products such as human brand pet beds and designer pet collars, leashes and apparel. Often appealing to pet owners, as much or more than the pets, such products reflect the same priorities pet owners put on products they buy for themselves, including quality, health, fun, fashion and prestige.
Convenience through automation
Technology and the Internet are, inevitably, another area where human trends inspire pet product developments. As with people products, many of the newer pet products promise convenience through automation: from self-cleaning litter boxes to automated feeders and waterers. A widening choice of higher-tech and wireless products help lighten the petcare load in novel ways. In fact, savvy manufacturers are rethinking products as services.
In this vein, smart phone apps increasingly factor in to contemporary petcare. American pet owners, and especially the millennial generation, are even more likely to use digital devices and technologies. This generation turns to computers, smartphones, and tablets on a regular basis to research manufacturers and retailers, to find online petcare tips and product reviews, and to scout out deals on an omnichannel basis.
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