Vertical Focus: Pet Industry
“Nearly 85 million U.S. households today have at least one pet, up from 73 million in 2010.”
—American Pet Products Association
Animal shelters across the United States are seeing a significant surge of applications for fostering and adopting animals during COVID-19, resulting in high demand for supplies at pet retailers. Local shelters in Chicago, Dallas, New York City, Los Angeles, Kansas City, and many other cities report fostering applications are up as much as 10 times what they were on a typical day before the pandemic.
Pet retailers are responding to meet this new demand. For example, more than 490 Pet Supplies Plus stores in 34 states nationwide now offer free two-hour curbside pickup. Pet owners can order online, drive to their nearest location, and a team member brings the items to their vehicle. In addition, more than 200 Pet Supplies Plus stores are delivering pet food and supplies directly to homes.
Along with toilet paper and hand sanitizer, shoppers are stockpiling food and toys for their pets during the COVID-19 crisis, according to CNN Business.
Pets are not eating more than they used to, analysts say. But their owners are panic-buying for the long haul at big retailers that remain open, such asWalmart andCostco, as well as pet stores such as Petco.
Specialty retailers like Petco account for nearly one-third of all dog and cat food sales in the United States and roughly half of fish and companion animal foods. “Mass retailers and grocery stores simply can’t feed all our pets,” a Petco spokesperson told CNN.
Shoppers are also going online to buy in bulk for their pets as they hunker down at home. Online pet supply retailer Chewy is hiring 6,000 to 10,000 employees at its fulfillment centers to keep up with demand.
That’s a Good Boy
Through financial contributions and food donations, many pet food companies are helping out animal rescue organizations, homeless shelters, food pantries, and struggling communities during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Dogs are most loved among all pets; they outrank cats in popularity by about five to four. ”
—GFK, a market research firm
- Nestlé Purina primarily supports three charities: the Petfinder Foundation, which has a COVID-19 fund for animal rescues and shelters; GreaterGood.org’s Rescue Bank, which supplies animal rescue organizations with pet food and supplies; and RedRover, which offers emergency grants to pet owners who are survivors of domestic violence and those who contract COVID-19.
- Vital Essentials kicked off its “Vital Relief Challenge” with a $100,000 donation to food pantries, shelters, and nonprofits in the Green Bay, Wisconsin, area. Through the challenge, the company encourages other pet food brands to give as much as they can.
92%: The increase in overall sales for pet stores on March 20, 2020, compared to the same date in 2019 after pet owners stocked up on food, toys, and supplies.
260%: The increase in sales reported by New York City pet stores on March 20, 2020. Sales were significantly higher in several regions hit hard by COVID-19.
—Food Industry Executive