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Pet services make up for decline in product sales

A Packaged Facts report shows how businesses big and small are competing with e-commerce.

Pet services make up for decline in product sales

Online sellers will capture an estimated 20% of the U.S. pet products market in 2019, but brick-and-mortar businesses are responding to e-commerce’s growing challenge by emphasizing and expanding pet services.

A new study published by the market research firm Packaged Facts pointed to PetSmart and Petco as examples of pet specialty retailers that have adapted to the internet age. The companies draw customers to in-store veterinary clinics — PetSmart hosts hundreds of Banfield clinics —encourage them to spend on training and grooming services, and make it easy for them go home with food and other supplies. PetSmart also has gotten into boarding through PetsHotel.

Meanwhile, Walmart has entered the veterinary space with in-store providers PetIQ and Essentials PetCare.

“A robust suite of pet care services is essential to many pet specialty retailers as e-commerce carves away product sales and pet specialty-type products are increasingly available at mass,” said David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts.

Petco, Walmart and PetSmart, the majority owner of Chewy.com, compete vigorously in the online channel, too.

Packaged Facts estimated that U.S. online sales of pet products will reach $11 billion in 2019, up from $9.5 billion in 2018, and climb from one-fifth of the market to 23% by 2023.

All the while, Americans are spending record amounts on their pets.

“For the past few years, the internet has been disproportionately responsible for helping to keep the U.S. pet industry on a healthy growth track,” Sprinkle said.

The publisher noted an explosion in independent pet care providers and service-finding apps “similar to that of Uber or Airbnb.”

“During the past few years, well-funded start-ups have begun connecting pet owners with independent pet care professionals at the local level, and with services including pet walking and sitting and in-home boarding,” Packaged Facts stated.

“The number of establishments registering pet care services other than veterinary as their primary business nearly doubled from 2003 to 2015.”

More information about the report, “U.S. Pet Market Focus: Pet Specialty Channel and Internet Shoppers,” is available at http://bit.ly/2Jly5sp.

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