As more people than ever enjoy internet access, customers are increasingly buying pet products at a click of a button. The market intelligence publisher attributes the boom to round-the-clock shopping time, convenient product comparisons and competitive pricing.
Paula Flores, head of pet care at Euromonitor International says, “If we dive into the differences amongst regions we can see that over 17 percent of total pet care sales are online in Asia Pacific. This is really quite relevant and indeed quite a high percentage share and it is related with the fact that Asians pet owners are young, and very technological with a very strong penetration of mobile phones and where the digital space is quite developed. Indeed, this with consumers using digital payments such as Alipay. And let’s not forget this is the home of such leading player as Alibaba and Tmall.
“In China, leading manufacturers have adjusted their distribution strategies to pay more attention to this growing channel, by opening official online flagship stores on the leading B2C platforms in China, such as Tmall.com and JD.com. In Western Europe it accounts for eight percent but the pace has been picking up with such strong markets as the UK where retailing is quite developed and consumers are very used to online shopping.
“Of course the local players such as Zooplus have had a great role to play with its diverse offer and quality services. And in the US, competition has just been heating up with players really, making inroads and leveraging omnichannel strategies. However, the latest development has been that Chewy has just been announced to be acquired by PetSmart (the largest retailer).”
The future of retail
Euromonitor International predicts that internet retailing will continue to grow in the pet food market, as younger consumers tend to be more comfortable shopping online.
Online subscription services (where consumers sign up for regular deliveries of pet food) are expected to grow in popularity among busy consumers who value convenience, while bricks-and-mortar pet superstores in developed economies, such as Petco in the US and Pets at Home in the UK, move towards an omnichannel bricks-and-clicks model in order to remain competitive.
Paula adds: “In terms of what strategies are paying off, customer service really is key. Pet parents are increasingly demanding and knowledgeable so sales staff need to be well trained and services such as same day delivery, no hassle returns, free shipping etc are also quite important.
“On a different level this also includes seamless integration of the shopping experience across channels together with an interesting and varied offer.”