The pet industry reached a milestone in 2020, with total sales of $103.6 billion, a historic high, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) State of the Industry Report released last week. That marks an increase of 6.7% over 2019 retail sales of $97.1 billion.
"We have reached a critical milestone, generating $103.6 billion in sales," said Steve King, president and CEO of APPA. "We are bullish for the coming year, projecting growth of 5.8% — well above the historical average of 3% to 4%. This past year presented a host of challenges that resulted in consumers across the country turning to their pets for comfort and companionship. Interestingly, the product trends we are seeing in the pet care community mirror those of consumers — a desire for a healthier lifestyle, increased focus on fitness, turning to supplements for improved well-being and technology playing a larger role in everyday life."
Of that 2020 total, $42 billion was spent on pet food and treats, a 9.7% increase year over year; $31.4 billion was spent on vet care and product sales, a 7.2% increase; and $22.1 billion was spent on supplies, live animals and over-the-counter medications, a 15.1% increase from 2019.
An additional $8.1 billion was spent on other services such as grooming, dog walking and boarding — a 21.4% decline from the previous year attributed to COVID-19 lockdowns and the economy. As quarantines are lifted and consumers venture out, the use of these services is expected to rise, the APPA predicted.
Sales of pet food and supplies skyrocketed in the COVID panic buying period from March to May last year, leading to supply chain disruptions and reports of shortages and out-of-stocks. Demand continued to be high for the remainder of 2020, but panic buying subsided and supply normalized. With people spending more time at home with pets, sales of accessories and treats remained strong, while an uptick in new pets — including a 30% increase in the small animal, fish and reptile category — led to increased sales of supplies as well.
For 2021, APPA estimates total sales of $109.6 billion, with increases in all categories, including 20% growth in other services as that segment normalizes. Growth is projected at 5.8% across the industry for 2021.
In other findings from the APPA report:
• 47% of pet owners reported they increased the number of times they purchased products online.
• Pet specialty and independent retailers experienced solid growth.
• 30% of pet owners spent more on their pet/pet supplies in the past year with only 10% saying they spent less.
APPA released its State of the Industry report findings during the online Global Pet Expo held March 24-26.