Americans are serious when it comes to their pets. According to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association, approximately 67% of U.S. households own at least one pet—that’s 84.9 million homes!
There has been a steady increase in the number of pet-owning Americans over the years. In 1988, the first year the same survey was conducted, 56% of U.S. households owned a pet. Of course, the more pet owners there are, the more demand there is for pet supplies.
As the leader in global ecommerce acceleration, we’re constantly curious about the forces impacting shifts in consumer behavior. So, to celebrate National Pet Day, we decided to do a deep dive into the online sales for pet supplies to answer a few burning questions:
To find out the answers to these questions, our data science team analyzed market demand for pet supplies on Amazon over the past three years. A few of our key findings at a high level:
Let’s dig into the data.
First, let’s examine weekly demand for pet supplies as a combined category from January 2021 through the end of February of this year.
Demand remained fairly consistent throughout the year, peaking during the “dog days” of summer, and hitting a low point during the holidays.
It appears that demand in 2022 has already begun to climb ahead of January and February of 2021, suggesting this might be a strong year for online sales of pet supplies.
Here’s what demand looks like when we split out the top 3 types of pet categories in our analysis:
Dogs are the most popular pet in the U.S., so it comes as no surprise to see that demand for dog supplies sit at the top of this chart. Cat supplies fell not too far behind, with a nearly identical trend line to that of dog supplies.
Supplies for pet birds meanwhile feel far behind that of America’s most popular pets, seeing only a tenth as much demand.
For a clearer comparative view, we can examine the change in weekly demand for these categories. This also allows us to add a more specific category, like fish tanks, to see if demand for pet fish supplies looks any different.
Here we see that pet bird supplies see demand peak in the spring, with weekly demand rising by as much as 31% over the annual average during the week of May 2.
Fish tanks see demand peak in early spring and again in late summer, with their low point coming in late November and early December.
As for dog and cat supplies, this view underscores just how consistent demand stays throughout the year. The week of June 20th was the peak for both categories, with a relatively modest 11% increase for dog supplies and 9% increase for cats.
Demand decreases rapidly in early fall through the winter for pet bird supplies, while the early December dip for cat and dog supplies maxes out at about 14% below the annual average.
While pet supplies see consistent demand throughout the year (particularly for cats and dog), what about the “non-essentials” like pet toys?
Here we see that when the holidays roll around, our furry friends are just as likely to have a pile of presents under the Christmas tree as anyone else, as demand increases by a whopping 117% vs. the annual average during the week of December 12.
You can see that after the holidays, pet toy demand spiked somewhat during the week of Valentine’s Day, 2022 — a phenomenon we didn’t really see in 2021, suggesting 2022 might be seeing some increased demand during certain times of year.
Here’s what demand looks like when we compare cat toys and dog toys:
As expected, demand for dog toys is consistently higher than cat toys, and both see their peak fall during the week of December 12th. But it’s definitely dog toys that get the biggest overall holiday shopping bump, with weekly demand rising by 148% as compared to the 74% increase that cat toys saw during the same week.
Demand for pet toys followed a pretty unsurprising trend, with a major emphasis on the holiday shopping season. But what about pet food? Is there a certain time of year where pet owners tend to stock up, or does it mirror the relative consistency of pet supplies as a broad category?
Let’s find out.
Demand for dog food is slightly higher throughout most of the year than cat food, with the trends between the two once again remaining quite similar. Dog food saw a slightly springtime bumb, with demand peaking in early May.
Then both cat and dog food saw demand dip slightly over the summer and peak again in the fall.
Interestingly, both cat and dog food has seen demand skyrocket in early 2022 compared to the same time in 2021. We’re not sure what could be driving this trend, but it makes us want to take a wider look at the trends for these categories over the past few years.
We’ve seen a few indicators that 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for pet supplies. Is this part of a larger trend over the past few years? Have the past couple of years spent working from home led more Americans to get new pets, and thus had a long term impact on demand for pet supplies?
Let’s take a look.
This chart makes a strong case that the pandemic has increased overall online demand for pet supplies.
Now, to be fair, demand for pet supplies started 2020 with demand well ahead of 2019. But we see a clear increase in monthly demand during the first months of lockdown, hitting a high point for the year in April.
Here’s a weekly view of 2020 to highlight the impact of the early pandemic on online demand for pet supplies.
Demand rose sharply as people turned to Amazon to stock up on supplies in the face of lockdowns and the early pandemic. But while that initial increase in demand was clearly an acute reaction to supermarkets and pet stores temporarily closing their doors, there’s been an undeniable year-over-year increase in 2021 and 2022 so far.
The long term trends for dog and cat food look somewhat different than pet supplies as an entire category:
Demand for dog and cat food also rose sharply in the month of March, but fell off much more quickly in April. This might be the result of people overcorrecting and stocking up on far more than they needed to early in lockdown, and then returning to in-store shopping after burning through their stash of pet food.
2021, meanwhile, started the year behind 2020, but quickly rose above any previous year, but 2022 has already brought an all-time monthly high when compared to any of the previous two years.
The early months of the pandemic had a negative effect on dog and cat toys, as people were clearly more likely to spend their money on essentials like food and supplies.
2020 did see the holiday demand rise to an all-time high, however, suggesting that perhaps there were indeed more new puppies and kittens in houses across America that year.
2021 saw monthly demand remain consistently higher than any previous year until the holidays hit, when 2020 was still slightly higher.
Pet supplies are popular year-round, but our data shows that different types of pet supplies hit their peak in demand at different times of the year than others.
Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.
And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.