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According to a report published by Packaged Facts in the publication U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2018 to 2019, in 2017 the American pet industry touched a whopping $86 billion. This growth trajectory is going to head upwards. Sales in pet services and products rose by 5% in 2018. As this industry continues to expand by leaps and bounds, its key players are struggling to keep up the changing demands of the marketplace.
From pet technology to pet e-commerce, here are four tech trends that are fueling the future growth of the pet industry:
1. E-Commerce Continues to Dominate
As internet sales keep growing, many brick-and-mortar pet shops are becoming defensive. More and more consumers are migrating towards online shopping and at a staggering pace too. Pet supply and pet food companies cannot afford to miss out on this rapidly expanding channel.
The results of a 2018 survey published by Packaged Facts showed that nearly 37% of U.S. pet owners purchased pet online more often than they used to. In addition, 14% of consumers made an online purchase for pet products within the last week. With the availability of a wide selection of products, low shipping costs, and auto-replenishment options, it’s no wonder that pet consumers are increasingly turning towards online shopping.
2. Amazon Will Lead In Online Sales
Currently, Amazon dominates the online sales of pet products- for a good reason too! Currently, Amazon has 65 million Prime members on its very popular shopping app. And this figure is increasing every day. The app has one-of-a-kind voice-shopping capabilities with Amazon Echo. This e-commerce giant continues to stay a step ahead of its competition within the pet industry.
Packaged Facts states that Amazon draws more than half of the consumers who shop for pet products online, outshining PetSmart.com, Chewy.com, and Walmart.com by a wide margin. In addition, Amazon is also installing robotic innovations within its warehouses to gain competitive advantages in shipping.
3. Big-Box Pet Stores Plan to Expand
In the last few years, Walmart, Petco, and PetSmart have been trying to keep with online pet retailers, especially via acquisitions. For example, in 2018, PetSmart purchased Chewy.com in one of the largest e-commerce acquisitions to date. It even surpassed Walmart’s purchase of Jet.com at $3.3 billion. This trend will continue to dominate with legacy retailers.
To grab some e-commerce market space, big-box pet specialty shops and big merchandisers are providing in-store pickup paired with online ordering. To further differentiate their strategies, PetSmart and Petco are increasing their revenue sources by offering pet care services that currently remain an untapped resource.
4. The Use of Smart Devices to Meet Pet-Care Needs
The use of smart devices and the Internet of Things is shaping how we care for our pets. Pet tech products are enabling pet owners to track their pets’ key health metrics, physical activity, location, etc. Internet-connected treat dispensers and video cameras are enabling pet owners to interact with their pets through Skype and similar programs. It also facilitates dispensing food while the owner is away from home. Pet tech devices are being introduced to minimize stress levels of pet owners and to improve the care of cats and dogs. These four tech trends will shape where and how pet owners shop for their pets.