Trends in pet care often follow on the tail of consumers’ lifestyle shifts; as shoppers seek healthier, more sustainably sourced foods for their families at the grocery store, they likely bring similar priorities to the pet aisle.
Consumers willing to spring for premium options presents retailers with a great opportunity—and since the pandemic prompted a spike in pet adoptions, the opportunity is even greater. According to a survey from Quotient, 33% of dog and cat owners adopted a pet during the pandemic, dramatically expanding the market—even long after the pandemic is in the rearview.
While grocers certainly face their share of competitors for pet-product sales, they can leverage shopper priorities to make themselves the go-to for quality pet care. Here’s how.
Super premium products for health-focused shoppers
An important first step to converting and retaining pet care customers is, of course, to offer the products they need most. According to Quotient’s survey, 84% of consumers cited food among their top three planned pet expenses for the next year. Medicine and veterinary care, cited by 45%, ranked second as the most-anticipated expenses, closely followed by treats at 44%.
In other words, nutrition and health are the areas in which consumers are most prepared to spend more. Consumers are looking for nutrition that’s healthy, enjoyable and enables their pet to live their best life. In fact, a 2019 Purina study concluded that three-quarters of dog owners think it is important to buy food formulated for their dog’s size, breed, life stage or other need. Four out of ten pet owners say they would pay more for a food that was made specifically for their pet’s nutritional needs.
Younger generations, according to Quotient, were responsible for the majority of pet adoptions during the pandemic, with millennials alone being responsible for 43% of adoptions. Importantly, millennials and Gen Z outpace other generations in opting for pricier pet foods, with 21% of both generations saying they’re willing to feed their pets premium foods.
Alongside health and wellness, sustainability serves as another example of a trend spanning products made for humans and pets alike. A 2019 report from the Pet Sustainability Coalition found that the vast majority—91%—of industry professionals anticipate an increase in demand for environmentally friendly and socially conscious pet products, with 50% saying they expect demand to grow rapidly. A September 2021 survey conducted by PwC showed about half of respondents said they consciously consider factors related to sustainability when making purchasing decisions.
Offer a smart selection
In addition to offering the quality of products consumers are looking for, it’s crucial for grocery retailers to provide enough product variety to meet shoppers’ needs in one trip to one store. Convenience is one of the chief selling points for the supermarket pet aisle; it gives shoppers the chance to check pet necessities off of their list without needing to make a second stop at a pet store or big box store after picking up their groceries.
In fact, a 2020 study from sales and marketing firm Acosta found that, among millennial shoppers, convenience is the No. 1 reason for changing where they shop for their pets, followed by price and assortment. Offering customers the choice to ship to their homes, buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS) or order curbside pickup enables consumers to meet the needs of modern consumers.
Of course, optimizing the supermarket pet product selection can be a complicated task, and having a finger on the pulse of what’s new and next in shopper preferences is key. Fortunately, retailers need look no further than the experts at Nestle Purina. With everything from quality pet foods and treats; trending pet wellness products such as supplements; and nonfood supplies such as litter, Nestle Purina is retailers’ one-stop shop for the most in-demand pet products on the market today.
To learn more about how Nestle Purina can help grocers prepare for pet-aisle success in the long term, visit www.purina.com.
This post is sponsored by Nestle Purina