Pet products have never been healthier. Healthier in both senses of the word: revenues are up and consumers are more concerned than ever for the health and wellbeing of their pets. More than half of American homes contain pets and a growing majority of pet owners are young urban professionals, a group that tends to treat their pets as family members (in contrast to rural homes, where pets are more likely to live outdoors and be treated as farm animals). This urban pet-owning demographic also does more of their shopping online. According to Pet Product News, pet products is one of the fastest-growing online retail categories, with a 45% increase in the last two years of the total amount of consumers who go online to buy products for their pets. And where are they going? Amazon, of course.

Amazon.com Pet Products Sales

October 2016 – September Q3 2017 (12 month total)

Total $2.2B
Top Categories
Pet Food & Feeding Supplies $970M
Habitats & Supplies $400M
Health Care $230M
Litter & Odor $170M
Aquatics $105M
Top Subcategories
Dry Dog Food $445M
Dog Treats $160M
Healthcare Topicals and Treatments $115M
Dry Cat Food $110M
Wet Cat Food $105M

Amazon-pet-products-sales-data

During the 12-month period from October 2016 to September 2017, Amazon’s Pet Products sales topped $2.2 billion. This product group continues to be dominated by pet food. 44% of total product group sales (nearly $1 billion) during this period was in the Pet Food & Feeding Supplies category, which also continues to be the fastest grower with 47% growth YoY. The category is so large that its leading subcategory, Dry Dog Food, is itself larger than any of the other categories within the Pet Products group.

Amazon.com Pet Products Growth

October 2016 – September Q3 2017 YoY Growth

Total 33%
Top Growing Categories
Pet Food & Feeding Supplies 47%
Litter & Odor 44%
Toys 29%
Health Care 28%
Grooming 23%
Top Growing Subcategories
Electronic and Interactive Toys 110%
Stress Relief 107%
Cat Treats 60%
Dry Cat Food 58%
Litter 56%

Due to the growth of urban pet ownership, habitats are becoming an increasingly necessary investment as pets are spending less time outdoors. This has helped drive Habitats & Supplies to its place as the second-largest category (though with less than half the sales of Pet Food) followed by Health Care. These three leading categories—which together amounted to $1.6 billion in sales during the 12 month period ending in September 2017—are all associated with the basic wellbeing of animals. But today’s pet owners are increasingly going above and beyond: Toys, Grooming and Stress Relief all experienced strong YoY growth.Amazon-pet-products-top-subcategories-revenue-data

Outside of our top five categories by sales volume, Toys showed the strongest growth. Grooming, another outlier, was the fifth-fastest grower with 23% growth, while Stress Relief was the strongest growing subcategory within Pet Health Care. This is further evidence that pet ownership is becoming increasingly intimate and familial; the more people value their pets, the more they care for – and are willing to invest in – their physical and psychological needs.

Key Drivers of Pet Product Sales

Interactive Toys

In the U.S., the trend-of-the-moment is interactive toys. Gadgets are trending almost universally across all product categories, so why should Pet Products be any different?  Electronic and Interactive Toys was the fastest-growing subcategory over the past 12 months, more than doubling in size and securing 3 spots in the top 5 bestselling toys during this period.Amazon-top-pet-toys-sales-revenue-data

There are two types of gadgets that are doing particularly well. Camera-enabled toys like the Petcube Camera (#2 and #8 bestsellers) which includes 2-way audio and a laser toy and the Petzi Treat Cam (#5 bestseller) allow owners to view and interact with pets at a distance. Interactive toys that play with pets autonomously such as the iFetch tennis ball launch (#4 and #13 bestsellers) and the Petsafe Bolt laser cat toy (#20 bestseller) allow pets to be entertained even when their owner is not available.

Additional U.S. Top Toys
October 2016 – September Q3 2017 (12 month total)

Subcategory Title Rank
Non-Interactive/Electronic Benebone Bacon Flavored Wishbone Chew Toy 6
Non-Interactive/Electronic OurPets IQ Treat Ball Interactive Food Dispensing Dog Toy 7
Interactive & Electronic Petcube Camera | 1080p Video, 2-Way Audio and Night Vision 8
Non-Interactive/Electronic KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose, Medium Dog Toy, Brown 9
Non-Interactive/Electronic Chuckit! Ultra Ball 10
Interactive & Electronic iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs – Mini Tennis Balls 13
Interactive & Electronic PetSafe Bolt Interactive Laser Cat Toy 20

Health Care

Pet Health Care continues to be a key driver as the second-largest category and fourth-fastest-growing. Healthcare Topicals and Treatments is the leading subcategory and Stress Relief showed the most YoY growth during the 12 month period.  Pet Health has become a major industry due to both a growth in awareness of animal health needs and the increased urbanization of pets. With more pets living indoors and in cities, owners are more likely to notice when their pets have a potential health issue, and pets are also living longer than ever. As they are less exposed to the dangers of the outdoors, such as getting hit by a car, they are more likely to require aging-related health care.

Cats and DogsAmazon-pet-products-sales-data-by-type

The impressive size and continuing growth of pet food is influenced by a number of factors. Pet food is the main consumable product that pet owners go through and is heavy, awkward, and much cheaper to buy in bulk. This can be a real hassle in the city, especially for people who don’t own a car, and buying online is a natural solution to this problem. Some brands including Taste of the Wild – the bestselling pet food on Amazon.com – are having success with Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program, which allows customers to have their pet food delivered to their door at regular intervals. Pet owners who see their pets as family members are also willing to spend more for higher quality food, allowing health-conscious brands such as Blue Life to rank at #8 in the top-selling pet products during this period.

The only comparably inconvenient consumable is cat litter, but currently dogs remain the pet of choice judging by Amazon’s sales figures. Dog food sales between October 2016 and September 2017 doubled cat food sales in the U.K. and nearly tripled them in the U.S. But cats are fighting back. Cat food is growing faster than dog food in both the U.S. and the U.K. and Litter & Odor is the second fastest growing category YoY in the U.S., driven mainly by cat litter with 56% growth.Amazon-pet-products-international-sales-data

Bestselling Pet Items

U.S. Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Cat Litter, 40 pound bag
U.K. Lintbells YuMOVE Supplement for Stiff/Older Dogs, 300-count
Germany Cat’s Best  Eco Plus Cat Litter, 40 Liter
France Seresto Collier Anti-Paraside for Big Dogs Larger than 8kg

 

Cat litter was the bestselling item in the U.S. and Germany, while in the U.K. and France, Health Care items took the top spot. Pet Food items ranked among the bestsellers in all four countries, though France uniquely had several Training & Behavior items beating the top food product. In all of the four countries, the top-selling pet products were spread out among a variety of different brands with no clear leader, showing a healthy level of competition in Amazon’s pet products space.

The pet market is in a critical growth phase, one of the few markets that is growing across all sectors including brick and mortar. Amazon has done impressive work in capitalizing on this trend by working with strong first-party sellers, price matching its competitors, integrating Subscribe & Save and Amazon Fresh with pet products, even going so far as to offer one-hour delivery of pet products in certain markets. Even the Amazon Dash Button, a WiFi-connected device that enables 1-click shopping in the home, is making waves in the pet market since the U.K.’s largest pet food producer (Inspired Pet Nutrition) launched Dash buttons for their Wagg and Harrington brands. The role Amazon has played –and continues to play – in shaping these trends cannot be overstated.

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