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Amazon pet food shoppers like Blue Buffalo

The online merchant is closing the gap on veterinary practices.

Amazon pet food shoppers like Blue Buffalo

Amazon.com sold an estimated $1 billion worth of pet food in 2018 as the online retailer continued to eat away at a traditional veterinary revenue category.

The market insights firm Edge by Ascential reported that Blue Buffalo products were most popular on Amazon, making up 11 percent of total pet food sales. Blue produces mainstream diets sold online and in stores as well as therapeutic diets marketed through veterinary hospitals.

“Blue Buffalo’s continued top-selling status illustrates how important it is for brands to incorporate in their packaging what consumers are looking for: healthier pet foods. Blue Buffalo’s top seller contains the keywords ‘Protection Formula’ and ‘Natural’ in the title,” said Pete Andrews, director of insights at Edge by Ascential. “The brand includes in-depth content on their product detail pages along with complete ingredient lists, nutritional information, numerous customer reviews and peer-answered questions. … By encouraging consumer interaction on Amazon, brands can re-create some of the interactivity that pet owners value from brick-and-mortar stores.”

The second and third most popular brands on Amazon were Purina (9 percent) and Hill’s Pet Nutrition (8 percent), both of which also make veterinary channel diets.

Altogether, Amazon’s pet food sales from 2017 to 2018 grew by 20 percent.

“Pet owners are choosing brands with the right combination of pet nutrition and shopper value,” Edge by Ascential stated. “Brands that lost market in 2018 took their customer loyalty for granted.”

Amazon’s private-label pet food brand, Wag, generated just $2 million, the report estimated.

Sales of pet food and treats at U.S. veterinary hospitals declined by 5.8 percent, to $1.6 billion, in the 12-month period ended June 2018, according to a Neilsen Co. study.

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