Home » IRI Survey: Confident Pet Parents Are Spending To Keep Pets Happy

IRI Survey: Confident Pet Parents Are Spending To Keep Pets Happy

IRI pet food sales

Amidst economic growth and declining unemployment rates, IRI Consumer Connect survey second quarter results show that consumers reported a better financial state compared to first quarter, and many are optimistic their finances will continue to improve over the next six months. While some experts still have concerns surrounding inflation, one category that has not been impacted is pet products.

Pet products, including pet food, pet supplies and pet treats, were among the top 10 selling consumer packaged goods categories in Q2, seeing an increase in dollar sales of more than 7 percent compared to 2020 and raking in nearly $40 million in sales throughout the past year. 


Consumers are getting more comfortable shopping online

The Consumer Sentiment Index is up seven points in July 2021 compared to July 2020. 

Despite consumer optimism and the return to some pre-pandemic behaviors, results from the second quarter Consumer Connect survey reveal that other 2020 shopping trends are sticking around. More consumers report they’re ordering groceries and pet products online, and 31 percent of online shoppers note they visit fewer brick-and-mortar stores because more of their shopping is done online.

Adoption of online ordering is most notable among Generation Z and Millennial consumers, who prefer in-store pickup. Many pet owners anticipate different pet needs throughout the next year, with 19 percent of respondents planning to buy different treats for their pets and 18 percent anticipating the need for grooming services.

“With an uptick in e-commerce sales, there is an increased opportunity for CPG retailers and manufacturers to promote health, nutrition and pet products to pet parents,” said Joan Driggs, VP of content and thought leadership. “IRI anticipates younger consumers will buy even more pet products in the coming year. Now is the time to build relationships with them and strengthen brand loyalty.” 


What drives consumer pet purchases? 

Pet owners indulged their pets during the second quarter, with 32 percent of survey respondents reporting they purchased more treats for their pets than in the first quarter, and 17 percent reporting they bought more pet products like leashes, scratching posts, kennels or carriers, and mats.

Gen Zers, Millennials and wealthy households purchased more pet products during the pandemic than other groups. Millennial and Gen Z consumers shopped for their pets across the most channels and preferred to shop at specialty stores and mass merchandisers more than other generations. Older consumers fulfilled their pet needs at grocery and convenience stores most often.

When shopping for pets, consumer purchase decisions are driven by health and nutrition first, followed by pet preference and price. More than half of consumers shopping for pet food consider health and nutritional standards before purchasing, while 46 percent consider their pets’ taste preferences and 42 percent shop for a good price.

Strong national brand loyalty is prominent among consumers of all income groups and generations. National brands outperformed private label brands by more than 3 percent in dollar sales growth throughout the past year. To level the playing field, private label brands are offering increasingly competitive prices, dropping the price per unit by nearly 6 percent over the past year.

As pet product sales continue to grow, retailers and manufacturers have the opportunity to connect with their target audience by meeting their pets’ needs, promoting the health and wellness benefits of products and offering products at an affordable price. 


About the IRI Consumer Connect Survey

IRI’s Survey Practice provides new survey results at the end of each calendar quarter covering shoppers’ behaviors and attitudes as they directly relate to their strategies for learning about, purchasing and utilizing CPG and health care products, as well as information regarding perceptions of economic conditions and their ability to provide for their families.

IRI is a provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, over-the-counter health care organizations, retailers and financial services and media companies grow their businesses.

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