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Sales For Pet Products Are Up, But Brands Will Need To Innovate To Stay Relevant

May 12, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Shutterstock_1689740593 Woman wearing a protective face mask cuddles, plays with her dog at home because of the corona virus pandemic covid-19

Approximately half of Americans own pets, and these beloved animal friends have offered companionship, laughs and comfort throughout quarantine. Fosters and adoptions are up, with people seeking out pets to keep them company and help maintain routines during self-isolation. Although there have been increased sales of pet food and pet products, pet food and pet supply brands will need to continue to innovate and stay nimble in order to be successful in the long term.

Pedigree Leverages Pet Adoption Boom With Animal Shelter And Zoom Partnership

The rise in pet adoption and fostering clearly indicates many people are interested in getting new pets, but the requirements of social distancing can make the adoption process difficult. Pedigree has partnered with Nashville Humane Association and Zoom to create Dogs on Zoom, a virtual adoption event that kicked off May 11. Adoptable dogs and their prospective new owners meet on Zoom, where the humans can look at all the adorable adoptable pet faces and ask the shelter any questions they might have.

The partnership between Pedigree and Nashville Humane Association hits a lot of sweet spots for brands trying to adapt during coronavirus, and for brands that want to build long-lasting usership, community and loyalty. By partnering with Zoom, Pedigree is tapping into technology that has been widely adopted in recent months, offering easy access to the virtual pet adoption events. The brand awareness that comes from Dogs on Zoom could lead new dog owners to try Pedigree products, and, as Marketing Dive indicates, “Additionally, by covering adoption costs, Pedigree has an opportunity to encourage consumers to opt-in and share [first-party] data on demographics such as location, name and contact information. The brand could leverage this information to market to consumers across a pet's lifespan and begin to nurture an ongoing relationship.”

Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) Brand ‘Cat Person’ Launches During Pandemic

cat person sponsored facebook ad

Cat Person, a DTC brand for cats and cat people, decided to go ahead with the launch of their business despite the pandemic. “Obviously we’re in unprecedented times,” said Jimmy Wu, Cat Person CEO. “[But] this is a great time for this business. If anything, more than ever, people need cats. Cats provide relief.” 

Backed by a cash infusion from Harry’s, Cat Person offers high-end, quality furniture, toy and food options for felines, including customizable recurring cat meal plans. “We’re not building a direct-to-consumer company, we’re building a brand for cats and cat persons first and foremost,” said Wu. “I think DTC happens to be a channel through which we’re launching initially that allows us to build that direct relationship. But we want to be able to really quickly evolve.” Although Cat Person had planned an out-of-home marketing strategy, the brand pivoted to paid social ads because of the constraints presented by coronavirus.

Pet Food Sales Are Up, But Brands Will Need To Maintain Momentum         

March saw an uptick in sales for pet food, in large part because of people settling into quarantine and stockpiling the items they knew they would need. CNN reported, “Dog food sales spiked 54% and cat food sales increased 52% for the week ending [March 22] compared with the same period last year, according to Nielsen's most recent data. Sales of pet supplies rose 24% during that stretch.”

Shutterstock_339676409 Hungry labrador retriever is feeding at home.

Americans spend tremendous amounts of money on their pets more than $95 billion on pet expenditures last year, with $36.9 billion on pet food and treats. The bump from sales during coronavirus is likely driving an increase in the pet food sector, but insiders predict other areas of pet spending, pet boarding for example, will see decreases in revenue. For pet food and pet supply brands to stay on top of the increase in business and engagement, they will need to differentiate themselves from the competition with innovative online campaigns and partnerships, alternative engagement and purchasing solutions and authentic connections with consumers that last beyond self-isolation. 

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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