The pooch-pleasing product market continues to grow, according to a report released this week by Packaged Facts.
Retail sales of pet supplies and pet care products reached $11.1 billion in 2011, according to the "Pet Supplies and Pet Care Products in the U.S." study. That’s up 2 percent over the previous year, but not yet back to the annual sales increases of 5 percent seen in 2007, before economic worries caused consumers to cool spending on extras, even on their four-legged friends.
Pet food, a staple, however, continued to grow at a faster rate. And the natural and organic category performed similar to human trends. Market research firm Mintel found that natural dog food sales jumped 20 percent from 2006 to 2011. Natural Foods Merchandiser looked at the market and some top product picks in June.
Mintel predicts the natural pet food market will continue to grow, with a 15 percent increase over 2011 by 2016. Packaged Facts also expects an ongoing gradual improvement on the pet supply side as pent-up demand kicks in after penny pinching stops.
The industry drivers, according to Packaged Facts, include:
- Playing up the human-animal bond to drive higher-ticket sales of premium products;
- The strong market presence of upper-income households willing to spend on pet supplies;
- The growing population of pets with specialized health needs, especially senior and overweight dogs and cats.
Real or perceived, we at NFM have seen many health-conscious products, including my dog’s favorite: The Barkers Dozen Blueberry Bone-anza Organic Dog Treats. She’s not a regular gluten-free eater, but goes crazy for them. And the dogs who work in our office love Cloud Star’s Wheat Free Soft & Chewy Treats.
Large chains are forming close relationships with pet suppliers, according to Packaged Facts. Walmart, in fact, is working with many, including Worldwise, which markets eco-friendly pet products.
But natural foods retailers certainly are better aligned to promote a healthy pet. We’ve seen more great brands like PetLife Organic targeting the natural space with great healthy pet alternatives. And there’s no shortage of green and eco-friendly offerings. Molly Mutt is one that’s come up with a great way to upcycle your old clothes with the bonus of comforting your dog with your smell. The company makes stuff sacks and beautiful duvets to create your own dog bed.
Many small, wonderful companies make great products to fill a creative pet section, large or small, to help you meet this growing demand.
What success have you had with selling pet products? Share below.