This is the 2nd insights digest from Segmanta’s brand new study, The Big Pet Survey 2020. We surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. pet owners (from July to August 2020) to understand consumer behaviors surrounding their pets, their lifestyle as pet owners, pet-tech usage, social media consumption, and their opinions, emotions, and sentiments as pet owners.
According to The American Pet Products Association, U.S. consumers in 2019 spent nearly $37 billion on pet food and snacks alone (with an average $300 annual spend), and the total amount is estimated to reach $38.4 billion in 2020. This significant market potential is a catalyst for brands to improve their product quality, brand influence, and innovation.
In this article, a continuation of Bon Appetit, Dear Pets. – Part I, Segmanta will continue to analyze U.S. pet ownership as it pertains to pet food, providing pet industry marketers with fresh, declarative consumer insights.
Purchasing Frequency & Location
In our survey, we asked pet owners about the purchase locations and frequency of pet food. Roughly 45% of pet owners purchase their pet food and treats from supermarkets. Furthermore, pet owners with higher household incomes (above $75K annually) are generally more likely to buy pet food from pet specialty stores or online. As for frequency, approximately 1 out of 2 pet owners claim that they usually purchase pet food each month in bulk.
Big Bucks Go To Pet Food
On average, a household will spend $300 per year on pet food and treats. Our survey found that 61% of overall pet owners consider pet food to be one of their highest expenses as pet owners. To break this down a bit further, cat owners consider pet food (66%) to be their biggest expense, while dog owners are more likely to report vet care (69%) as their biggest expense. Pet owners who are more informed about the ingredients in their pet’s food are willing to spend more money on high quality, natural pet food.
The Winning Brand: PurinaⓇ
Purina was the most popular brand among pet owners in the U.S. with more than 41% choosing Purina as their preferred pet food brand. Many also commented that they regularly purchase Purina specialty brands such as Friskies, Fancy Feast, Purina Pro Plan, PurinaOne, and more. Amongst Purina lovers, there was considerable overlap between pet owners that owned both dogs and cats, with 72% owning cats, and 65% owning dogs. Cat-only owners are 76% more likely to prefer Purina brands compared to dog-only owners.
Roughly more than half of Purina lovers often feed their dogs biscuits/cookies and dry treats, while 64% of them mainly give their cats dry soft treats. It’s worth noting that pet owners who prefer Purina are also less likely to purchase or make healthy/organic food for their dogs and cats. Compared to those who do not prefer Purina products, Purina fans are significantly (83%) more likely to buy pet food and treats from supermarkets.
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A growing number of pet food brands are looking to maintain the premium quality of their products, as well as to solve customers’ pain points around convenience by providing services such as online purchase options or customized subscriptions. Many households tend to purchase pet food/treats in bulk every month or order pet food from online stores to avoid the hassle. A lot of pet specialty services (such as Chewy) offer delivery to home or fresh pet food product subscriptions at affordable prices.
In addition to the thriving e-commerce sales of pet food, brands also aim to reach their customers through various online channels. To emotionally engage pet lovers, major pet food brands like Purina create buzz-inducing, cuteness-overload pet food commercials – Friskie’s hilarious “Dear Kitten” series certainly won many “Aw”s from animal lovers. What’s more attention-driven than fluffy puppies and kittens endorsing food on screen?
Health-oriented consumers have also started to rely more on technology to monitor and improve their pets’ wellbeing. In the survey results, we saw the individuals who feed their dogs and cats organic pet food tend to use pet-tech products for the safety and wellness of their pets. New pet care phenomena, such as pet diet apps, allow pet owners to better manage their dogs and cats’ fitness effectively through mobile devices and wearable gadgets.
As the pet food industry evolves, brands are stepping up their game by addressing consumer pain points around convenience, integrating technology to improve pet care, and elevating pet food recipes, flavor, and nutrition.