Walmart, Chewy, and PetSmart preparing for holiday pet sales surge

  • Half of consumers plan to buy pet supply gifts over the holidays.
  • The average buyer will spend $90 on pet supplies for the 2020 holidays.
  • All the coronavirus pet adoptions have led to booms for pet supply stores.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The upcoming holiday season is different this year due to the coronavirus, but dogs and cats, along with the retailers who sell pet merchandise, will come out ahead.

Half of the consumers surveyed by consulting firm Deloitte plan to buy pet supplies or food while shopping for the holidays this year. Nearly a quarter of shoppers said that they will buy pet toys, decor, or accessories as a gift, on average spending $90 on pet supplies over the holidays.

Deloitte found that the average consumer will spend $922 on holiday shopping this year. Pet items ranked among the top categories respondents wanted to gift and receive this year.

“Often, pet is a fairly recession-proof category,” Rod Sides, vice chairman of retail and distribution at Deloitte told CNBC. “Folks will continue to spend for their pets, just as they do for their kids and family.”

Pet spending was already on the rise, and the $53 billion US pet supply industry is expected to reach $64 billion within four years, CNBC reported. During recessions in 2001 and 2009, pet spending grew by double digits, according to the National Retail Federation.

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Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images


Since the pandemic reached the US in mid-March, shelters, rescues, and breeders have reported soaring demand for dogs and cats. People need supplies for their new pets, Sides explained to CNBC.

People who already have pets are also more time with them while stuck at home and investing in more treats and accessories.

“Since people have more time with their pets than usual, they’re pampering and looking for things like better collars and harnesses, toys, treats, and beds. We’re seeing more online sales from customers all over the US because we’ve curated some unique pet products,” Allison Rynne, manager of specialty pet supplier Muttropolis told NRF.

Read more:’Pet parents’ are expected to spend $99 billion on pet care this year, and Walmart has a plan to dominate the segment with pet insurance and dog walking partnerships

Nearly half of consumers who plan to buy pet supplies told Deloitte that they prefer to shop at pet stores. Online pet retailer Chewy has benefitted from the growth in both pets and e-commerce, putting together holiday gift guides for dogs, cats, and “pet parents.” In Q2, Chewy’s sales grew 47% year over year, and its market value increased to $28.9 billion. Chewy CEO Sumit Singh told CNBC that people are buying more crates, bowls, toys, and treats.

The growth in pet products is a result of people adopting animals since the pandemic started, but also people feeling like pets are increasingly part of the family.

“Maybe 30 years ago, pets were in someone’s backyard. Then they came into the house. And I’d say five-to-10 years ago they ended up on your bed. Why does that matter? The closer they get to you, the more you invest in their healthcare, and the more their health impacts you,” Kristen Peck, CEO of animal medication company Zoetis said in October.

FILE PHOTO: The Petsmart store in Westminster, Colorado is seen November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: The PetSmart store in Westminster

Reuters


In a September press release, Walmart also explained plans to accommodate more pets during the holidays. It plans to sell over three million pet beds and has also increased supply of other pet products. Petco and PetSmart are also stocking up on holiday supplies. Both companies’ sales have increased during the pandemic, CNBC reported. Petco chief digital and innovation officer Darren MacDonald told CNBC that the home redecorating trend has moved over to pets, with people replacing beds and accessories.

Walmart sees the pet boom outlasting the holidays, and has been investing in the space. The retail giant is launching Walmart Pet Care, a pet insurance plan integrated with Rover, the pet-sitting app.

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