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November 28, 2018

By The Pet Business Professor

According to John Gibbons, president of A GPS for Pet Businesses, in 2017, e-commerce sales were $449.9B, up $60.8B (+15.6%). In 2000, the Total Retail economy – less restaurants, was $3.0 Trillion. By 2017, it had increased 70.1% to $5.1 Trillion – an annual growth rate of 3.2%. During the same period, E-commerce sales increased by over 1500% – an annual growth rate of 17.8% – nothing short of spectacular.

The increase has been very consistent since the millennium, with the only slow down coming in 2008 and 2009 as a result of the Great Recession. However, while e-commerce growth notably slowed, we should remember that the total retail economy actually decreased in 2009 for the first time since 1956. 2010 and the years since the recession have shown strong increases in e-commerce as the new “value conscious” consumers looked to the internet for savings. Perhaps even more significant than the spectacular growth in dollars, is the growth in overall market share. Since 2000, e-commerce has moved from insignificance – less than 1%, to a 9% “force” in the retail market.

In 2016, e-commerce sales increased $48.7B (+14.3%) over 2015 so it was another strong year for online shopping. Every channel but Health & Drug stores increased their e-commerce $, but only 4 channels gained in share. All 4 of these retail channels are very important to the Pet Industry. In the last Economic Census, they accounted for 65% of all Pet Products sales in the U.S. Here are their e-commerce specifics:

  • Food & Beverage Stores – E-Comm. – $3.9B; Up $1.7B (+63.1%) – Share of e-commerce went from 0.4% to 1.0%. This huge percentage increase is a foreshadowing of even bigger things to come.
  • Bldg/Hdwe/Gard/Farm – E-Comm. – $9.8B; Up $1.5B (+18.1%) – They gained 0.1% in share. It demonstrates that E-commerce is an option for all retail channels.
  • Gen Merchandise – E-Comm. – $27.6B; Up $5.0B (+22.1%) – The internet is perhaps the single biggest threat to this channel. They are responding, gaining 0.5% in share.
  • Non-Store Online Retlrs – E-Comm. $227.6B (+17.9%) – They started it all and continue to set the pace,+1.8% share.

Let’s also take a closer look at another channel of interest to the Pet Industry.

  • Misc (Office, Florist, Gift, PET) – E-Comm. $13.9B (+2.2%) – This channel ranks 5th in share of e-commerce business among brick ‘n mortar outlets but they loss 0.4% in share. Pet Stores increasingly offer an e-commerce option but recently their emphasis has been on increasing services, like grooming, which are not available online.

In this rapidly evolving environment, retailers must either adapt or face extinction. It’s their decision.

See full report here.

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