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IRI: Sales of pet products leap in Q2

IRI's Consumer Connect Survey says the pet category hit a sales jump it hasn’t seen in four years.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Sales of pet products are booming, seeing its highest sales growth since 2017 and pet food sales ranked fifth overall in CPG retail, according to the latest numbers from IRI,  

The Chicago-based data firm released results from its Q2 IRI Consumer Connect Survey and said pet products (including pet food, supplies and treats) rose in dollar sales by more than 7% vs. a year ago, generating nearly $40 million in sales throughout the past year.

More than a third of respondents in the Q2 Consumer Connect Survey said they had purchased more treats for their pets than the previous quarter, and 17% said they bought more accessories in the form of leashes, kennels, carriers and mats.

Pet products (including pet food, supplies and treats) have earned nearly $40 million in sales throughout the past year.

IRI said that strong national brand loyalty is prominent among consumers of all income groups and generations, whereas national brands outperformed private label brands by more than 3% in dollar sales growth throughout the past year. However, to level the playing field, private label brands are offering increasingly competitive prices, dropping the price per unit by nearly 6% over the past year.

Gen Zers, millennials and wealthy households purchased more pet products during the pandemic than other groups, per the research. 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% consider their pets’ taste preferences and 42% shop for a good price.

IRI posts results from its IRI Consumer Connect Survey at the end of each calendar quarter, looking at trends and consumer behavior shifts.

Outside of pet products, the survey did find that consumers reported to be in a better financial state compared with Q1 survey results and they seem more optimistic about the next six months ahead.

Overall feelings around e-commerce continue to improve, too, with more than a third of online shoppers saying they visit fewer brick-and-mortar stores because of e-commerce now. More consumers of pet products and groceries are buying online, too, according to the survey.

"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, vice president of content and thought leadership, IRI. “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."