CBD-infused pet products are “the largest emerging trend we’re seeing in the hemp-CBD space. One in four pet owners indicate they’re likely to give their pet hemp-CBD in the next 12 months,” says Rick Maturo, associate director of client services for Nielsen’s cannabis practice.
Pet products account for just 1% of CBD sales in grocery, but the data is promising. CBD consumers are more likely to own pets than the average American: Nielsen shows 67% of adults are pet owners while 74% of CBD consumers are pet owners. Meaning the opportunity to increase a customers’ CBD basket size is ripe when pet products are added into the mix.
Maturo says CBD-infused pet products and categories are quickly expanding, with dog and cat options, as well as equine-specific formulations. Aaron Perlman, co-founder of the Denver-based Barksy line of CBD pet products, says, as with human, tinctures and edibles are the most prominent offerings for pets.
“Tinctures are really big: It hits the bloodstream faster; it’s a quicker response, a stronger solution,” he says. “[Meanwhile], a treat is easy: no measuring or mixing, just pull out a treat and toss it in the air.”
Perhaps more important to understanding the pet CBD shopper is why they’re buying CBD for their dog or cat.
“We’ve started to see pet products emerge for the same reasons as humans: Pets have pain, pets have arthritis, so people are getting into that category,” Perlman says. “But you’re also going to see ‘last resorters.’ A dog who’s not feeling well and who’s tried everything else from the vet. That’s how CBD was discovered for humans.”
Where the pet subcategory differentiates itself from human CBD products is how it should be merchandised. Most retailers and suppliers have found that shoppers prefer a CBD section that houses all CBD products vs. having the topicals in the beauty section, beverages in the cooler and edibles in the snack and candy aisle.
Pet products, however, are the exception to that rule. “They work best when offered in a store’s pet section,” he says. “Pet is sort of a world unto itself. That’s a very unique shopping experience.”
That said, Perlman encourages retailers to create a kind of mini-CBD section within the pet aisle instead of putting CBD dog treats with the regular dog treats and CBD cat treats with the regular cat treats, for example.
“CBD is so new that most retailers only have a couple products,” he adds. “You don’t want to have to go on a treasure hunt.”