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2018 Category Guide: Pet Food/Pet Supplies

This is part of Supermarket News’ 2018 Category Guide to fresh and center store categories.

While retailers overall saw an increase in both pet food and pet supply sales (of 1.8% and 1.3%, respectively), there is some cause for concern in the categories. In supermarkets, pet food sales were virtually flat at $4.2 billion in the 52 weeks ending May 20, according to IRI data, while down 2.6% in pet supplies, to $803.5 million.

Those are still decent numbers, but with a total of $72.1 billion being spent this year on animals, care and supplies (according to the American Pet Products Association), grocery retailers may feel their share of the market should be stronger. About $30 billion of that total goes to pet food.

Competition is a big factor. There is a growing online shopping component for pet owners — led by and the omnipresent Amazon, whose pet product sales reached $2 billion in 2017, up 40% from the previous year, according to Packaged Facts research.

“Pet products are among the fastest-growing online retail categories and Amazon is leading the way,” said David Sprinkle, research director for market research firm Packaged Facts, which published the report “Amazon Strategies and the Amazon Shopper.” “The scariest part for competitors is that recent news indicates the e-commerce juggernaut is still coming on strong and unabated in the U.S. pet industry, reaffirming its commitment to pet products and now pet food.”

Outside of e-commerce, pet supply chains like Petco and Petsmart command a hefty share of the pie. But supermarkets are still very much in the game and by focusing on healthier trends in pet foods, they might gain some sales in 2018.

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