Business USA News

U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2020-2021

Along with virtually every other area of U.S. economy, the pet industry will be battered by the coronavirus pandemic through 2020 and beyond. But the pet industry stands out as famously recession resistant, coming through 9/11 and the Great Recession of 2008 relatively unscathed. Moreover, all four of the pet industry product and service sectors—pet food & treats, non-food pet supplies, veterinary services, and non-medical pet services—come into the crisis on firm footing.

Perhaps the timeliest edition of Packaged Facts’ annual U.S. Pet Market Outlook ever, this report focuses on the current and expected impact of the coronavirus pandemic across all areas of the market, projecting future retail sales and trends in light of the coronavirus crisis. Among the key predictions:

  • Sales declines and slowdowns across all market sectors, with non-medical pet services (including boarding/daycare) taking the sharpest hit, and pet food holding up best as a “must-have” staple with a strong healthcare component.
  • A further surge in online shopping for pet products, as pet owners flock to the Internet for home delivery or curbside/parking lot pickup from brick-and-mortar pet stores and veterinarians.
  • A sharp uptick in adoption of and reliance on veterinary telehealth services such as those offered by GuardianVets, PetCoach, and TeleVet.
  • A private-label surge as cash-strapped pet owners facing months if not years of economic uncertainty, and a demand-driven uptick in store-brand production.
  • A silver lining of increased dog and cat ownership among households eager for the emotional support and physical comfort pets provide in this stay-at-home era.

Scope and Methodology

Packaged Facts’ U.S. Pet Market Outlook, an industry best-seller since 2010, is the go-to source for a complete understanding of the U.S. pet industry. The report evaluates current trends and future directions for marketing and retailing, along with consumer patterns across the full spectrum of the market, including pet food, veterinary services, non-food pet supplies, and non-medical pet services (grooming, boarding, training, pet insurance). This report forecasts market size and growth for each category (2019-2024), examines new product activity, surveys retail channel trends including cross-channel shopping vs. shopper loyalty, and analyzes trends and shifts in the needs of today’s pet parents. The report tabulates pet product sales channel by channel and projects channel shares through 2024, taking into full account the accelerated swing toward online purchasing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and presenting before-and-after market projections by retail product or service sector.

The information contained in the report was obtained from primary and secondary research. Primary research includes national online consumer polls of U.S. adult pet owners (age 18+) conducted on an ongoing basis by Packaged Facts, to measure purchasing patterns and attitudes regarding pet products and services. With sample sizes of approximately 1,000 or 2,000 pet owners, these surveys are based on national online research panels that are census representative on the primary demographic measures of age, gender, geographic region, race/ethnicity, and household income. The most recent survey incorporated into this report was conducted in February/March 2020.

Our primary research also includes interviews with pet market experts; participation in pet industry events including the American Pet Products Association’s Global Pet Expo 2020, Petfood Industry/Watt Publishing’s Petfood Forum 2019, United Veterinary Services Association (UVSA) Annual Conference 2019, and VMX 2020; on-site examination of retail and service provider venues; and Internet canvassing, including of consumer blogs.

Secondary research includes information- and data-gathering from consumer business and trade publications including Pet Age, Pet Business, Pet Product News International, Petfood Industry, and Veterinary Practice News; company profiles in trade and consumer publications; and information culled from Packaged Facts’ extensive pet market research database and report collection.

Estimates of market size and company performance are based on reported revenues of pet product manufacturers, retailers, and pet services providers; background sales data from syndicated retail sales-tracking sources, surveys of independent and chain pet store retailers; government data including U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Surveys; and figures from other market research sources.

Analysis of pet ownership trends primarily relies on cross-tabulations of MRI-Simmons National Consumer Surveys. On an ongoing basis, Simmons conducts booklet-based surveys of a large and random sample of consumers (approximately 25,000 for each 12-month survey compilation) who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. population. These Simmons surveys allow for detailed consumer profiles across various markets and product categories. This report draws primarily on the Simmons Fall 2019 release, which is based on 10,025 dog owners, 5,844 cat owners, and 2,806 other pet owners.