While e-commerce has been a blazing hot trend for pet food sales, don’t nail shut the coffin on physical stores just yet. An overwhelming majority of Americans still purchase pet food in stores—88 percent of dog owners and 93 percent of cat owners purchased in a store in the last 12 months, as reported in Packaged Facts’ latest market research report Pet Food in the U.S., 13th Edition.
In addition, 76 percent of dog owners and 81 percent of cat owners purchase all of their dog/cat food in a physical store, without pre-ordering it anywhere else.
Not surprisingly, millennials are the most comfortable with non-traditional buying options. They are more likely than other age cohorts to purchase through a website or app for home delivery. They are also more likely than others to buy online for pickup in a store (BOPiS).
Indeed, while pet specialty retailers spent much of 2017 beefing up their online offerings, they weren’t ignoring brick-and-mortar by any means. PetSmart opened its 1,600th store in late 2017, adding 63 in the first three quarters of 2017. Petco now operates more than 1,500 stores, and Pet Supplies Plus added its 400th location in May 2017. Maybe there’s something to having a physical presence. Just look at the biggest e-commerce player of them all—Amazon.com—which gave a big vote of confidence to brick-and-mortar with its purchase of Whole Foods in 2017. And during the holiday season, Walmart used its 3,500-supercenter reach in the U.S. to offer store pickup of Walmart.com orders until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. So while e-commerce continued its gains in 2017, physical stores remain a vital part of the sales mix.