Spending up on pets as Australians continue to work from home, finds IRI

Alistair Leathwood, Chief Commercial Officer APAC at IRI

Alistair Leathwood, Chief Commercial Officer, for APAC, with IRI®the innovative company for data, analytics and technology to FMCG Retail, has announced the release of IRI’s latest market research for the pet care sector and the results show the biggest increase in consumer spending on pet care products in the history of Australia’s food and grocery sector.

What were the findings of the study?

Commenting on the study, Leathwood said, “We knew consumer spending on the pet care sector for the last twelve months would be up as our insights, scan data and IRI Shopper Panel information has all pointed to large increases but what our study identified is that the pet care category experienced phenomenal growth of almost 50% online in the past year.”

Pet toys and other accessories biggest movers

“The areas of growth are seen across pet food and the star performer, the pet accessories segment. Pet owners have indulged big time in pet toys and other accessories to enjoy time with their new furry friend and keep them entertained while owners work from home.”

According to Leathwood, the research also shows that younger households are buying more pet care products online. “We have also identified that younger households are spending more money on pet care products online. Most are likely new pet parents adopting pets during COVID and are more accustomed to buying online,” Leathwood further commented.

Decline in instore shopping

“The other interesting insight to come of our research shows that the majority of pet owners still shop instore. In fact, 94% shop instore however we are seeing a slight decline in this figure as more consumers turn to online shopping. Overall the adoption of online shopping across households is increasing at its fastest rate, due to households being locked down.”

“As society normalises, we expect to see continued growth in adoption as households embrace the convenience and ease-of-online-research benefits. Pet food does come in large heavy packaging so it is easy to see why shoppers prefer to buy larger bulkier packs online as these products can be delivered to their doorstep as opposed to having to carry them around when buying instore. Cat litter is another product that they prefer buying online.”

“Interestingly, shoppers tend to purchase pet treats instore rather than online. This makes sense, as pet treats are often impulse buys and this very much aligns with instore behaviour. Why not pamper your furry loved one with a treat while you are purchasing their kibble?  I find it hard to walk past the Cherry Ripes when I am out buying greens for dinner.”

More spent on online shopping platforms

The IRI research has also confirmed that pet owners spend more when shopping online. To be exact, they spend $31 more per online shopper trip than nonpet owners and embark on two percent extra shopper trips. “The key takeaway here is that Australian households love their pets and enjoy pampering their fury loved ones,” Leathwood further added.

“While inflation and other market pressures are continuing to impact shoppers in Australia, we still expect to see strong results in the pet care category moving forward,” Leathwood said.