Who Buys More Pet Supplies on Amazon–Dog or Cat Owners?

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:

  • When do people do the most online shopping for pet toys?
  • When are people most likely to buy clothes for their pets?
  • What about pet food?
  • And did COVID-19 change the way people shopped for pet supplies online?

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:

  • Demand for pet supplies was consistently high throughout 2021—week over week, dogs outrank cats
  • Demand for pet toys peaks during the holiday shopping season
    • Dog toy demand +148% week of Dec 12
    • Cat toy demand +74% week of Dec 12
  • Early pandemic brought temporary increase in demand for pet supplies, with consistent year-over-year increases ever since
  • Online demand for pet food at an all time high in early 2022

Let’s dig into the data.

When is market demand highest for pet supplies?

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.

When is market demand highest for pet toys and other specialty items?

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.

When is market demand highest for pet food?

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.

The short and long term impact of COVID-19 on demand for pet supplies

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.

A lesson for brands

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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Aug 9, 2022

The Ecommerce Equation: 4 Levers CEOs Use to Drive Marketplace Revenue

Developing your ecommerce strategy for digital marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, Tmall, and Alibaba gets complicated fast—there’s a lot to think about, including marketplace SEO, product photography, advertising tactics, disjointed sellers, distribution logistics, managing ratings and reviews, and more. It can be overwhelming for brands, especially those with small teams, to know which behaviors to optimize for for the highest gains in profitability.

The good news? Revenue performance all comes down to data. Pattern was built on a data science approach to ecommerce success. We find the patterns that drive profitability, then apply them to boost our brand partners’ revenue on ecommerce channels.

And a key pattern we follow for all brands on digital marketplaces is the ecommerce equation: revenue = traffic x conversions x price x availability. As brands zero in on these four pieces of the equation, they can simplify and focus their efforts to reach truly profitable ecommerce growth. 

1. Drive Traffic to Products

The first part of the equation is traffic—you need to get people to see your listings if you want to generate sales. There are two ways to drive traffic to your products: through organic search and paid search. Striking the right balance between both for your brands is crucial to driving enough of the right traffic to your products, ultimately increasing your ecommerce revenue.

Knowing this, Pattern provides the resources and technology needed to drive traffic to your product listings. Our brand management team, advertising specialists, and SEO technicians work in harmony to create a unified strategy to boost your brand’s organic profile and balance that with a paid advertising approach that works for your brand and listings.

Using this method, we took Feetures socks from ranking on longer-tail terms like “no show athletic socks black” to driving traffic on parent keywords like “no show socks.”

2. Create Content that Converts

Getting customers to your product listing is only half the battle. Once on your listing, you need customers to convert. Conversion is key to the ecommerce equation because it leads to real product purchases and revenue. Traffic without conversion leads to more time and ad spend without the ROI.

Optimizing your images, product description, bulleted details, customer reviews, and buy box performance is key to successful conversion. If you’re going to spend time and effort driving traffic, you should make sure customers can easily and clearly find what they’re looking for when they arrive at your listing.

While your imagery and descriptions are important, you also need to build customer trust to drive conversions. Studies show that your customer service efforts matter too—84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends, making strong reviews an important factor of conversion on marketplaces.

The good news is as you provide a quality product and a great marketplace experience, you’ll build brand equity, increasing your customer loyalty. Then, as your reputation, reviews, and traffic grow positively, marketplace algorithms will recognize your popularity and improve your rank accordingly. Rank drives both traffic and conversions, helping you to optimize your performance further. As your brand equity grows, your conversions will continue to grow with it.

3. Control Your Price

While setting a strategic price is an important step in your ecommerce strategy, it takes more than that to truly control your price on marketplaces. 

Without proper control and with wide distribution, your product could end up in the hands of disjointed sellers who lower your marketplace price to sell their inventory and make quick profits. With one seller lowering price online, other authorized sellers and retail partners are forced to lower their price to compete, creating price erosion and sending your brand down the profitability death spiral.

This Death Spiral damages brand equity, hurts conversions, and can lead to Buy Box Suppression on Amazon, hindering traffic as well. And as prices get lower and lower, your profit margin withers away, decreasing your overall revenue.

Using our data-driven insights and Pattern’s eControl partner Vorys, we help brands implement narrow distribution, identify and take-down unauthorized sellers, eliminate price erosion, and control their price online. Focusing on price control, Pattern helped LifeSeasons, a premium supplement company, take back 91% control of the Buy Box on Amazon.

Download the LifeSeasons 1-Page Case Study Here

4. Optimize Your Product Availability

The last piece of the ecommerce equation is availability. It makes sense to think of availability as a contributing factor in conversion, but we felt that it’s important enough to call out on its own—you can fully optimize your traffic, conversion, and price, but without availability, you can’t grow revenue for your brand.

A lack of availability leads to stock outs, losing conversions to competitors, losing possession of the buy box, poor customer reviews, a decrease in traffic…the list goes on. The best-performing brands on ecommerce digital marketplaces optimize their availability with high-end technology, optimize their cash on hand, and inventory time on hand to keep the ecommerce equation powered and optimized in their favor.

How Pattern Drives Revenue Using the Ecommerce Equation

Pattern is committed to  solving the ecommerce equation. We partner with brands to provide the expertise, resources, and technology needed to drive traffic, create content that converts, protect price, maintain availability, and ultimately accelerate ecommerce revenue and profitable growth. 

Interested in improving the results of your ecommerce equation? Schedule a call.

Aug 9, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 9th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon opens first Irish warehouse in Dublin Amazon has unveiled its first Irish fulfilment centre in Dublin, the first of its kind in Ireland, and is expected to create 500 jobs. The ecommerce giant has said the new warehouse promises to decrease delivery times for Irish Amazon customers and will heighten the presence of the company in the market. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/05/amazon-unveils-first-irish-fulfilment-centre-in-dublin/) Amazon fulfils direct from brand stores to offer same-day delivery Amazon has launched a new fulfilment option allowing Prime members to shop for products from local stores and have them delivered on the same day. The initiative has taken off in the US in over 10 cities, with initial partners including Superdry, Diesel and PacSun. Other brands are offering users an option to buy online with Amazon and collect in store. [Read more on Retail Gazette](https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2022/08/amazon-same-day-delivery/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2e98756cab-EMAILCAMPAIGN202208030744&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2e98756cab-61040615) Amazon acquires Roomba manufacturer for $1.7bn Amazon has made a deal to purchase the manufacturer of Roomba for $1.7 billion USD. Roomba is a vacuum brand and is one of the highest selling robot vacuums on the marketplace. Roomba will join Alexa and Ring doorbell as the company expands its home system offerings. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/08/amazon-acquires-roomba-manufacturer-for-1-7bn/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Ebay beats revenue estimates on sales and earnings Ebay has outperformed in terms of its revenue expectations, as a new focus on luxury items and collectibles is improving sales and traffic to the website.The company recently launched a 31,000 square foot Ebay Vault, where collectors are able to store valuables, monitor their market value and sell them to other buyers. [Read more on Bloomberg](https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-03/ebay-beats-estimates-on-sales-and-earnings-forecast-shares-rise) Alibaba lays off 10,000 employees to cut costs amid falling sales Alibaba has allegedly laid off 9241 employees as expenses rise in other areas and sales slow. This marks the company’s first drop in payroll size since 2016, highlighting the urgency to cut costs as it faces regulatory and economic challenges. Alibaba Chairman has said that the company plans on employing over 5000 new graduates in this year. [Read more on Gadgets Now](https://www.gadgetsnow.com/tech-news/alibaba-cuts-10000-jobs-to-cut-costs-amid-falling-sales/articleshow/93392190.cms) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Facebook to close down its live shopping feature Facebook has decided to shut down its live shopping program to focus more on Reels, its short-form video content in an attempt to keep up with Tik Tok to hold Gen-Z’s attention. The company is also ending the ability to create product playlists or tag products on the site. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/facebook-to-shut-down-its-live-shopping-program-as-it-shifts-focus-to-video-content/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=57ba61a3b9-EMAILCAMPAIGN202208090745&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-57ba61a3b9-61040615)
Aug 8, 2022

Global insights: Spotlight on Amazon in Emerging Markets

We have analysed Amazon in emerging markets compared to countries where it has already achieved dominance, following its reported growth of 22% between [2020](https://www.marketplacepulse.com/articles/amazon-gmv-in-2020) and [2021](https://www.marketplacepulse.com/articles/amazon-gmv-reached-600-billion-in-2021). Pattern’s [Amazon Consumer Insights Report 2022](https://info.pattern.com/amazon-consumer-insights-report-2022) has highlighted some interesting insights into the similarities and differences in the ways Amazon is used across 17 different countries. We carried out research on various macroeconomic indicators and data related to Amazon usage in each country to better understand the key factors that determine the suitability of the markets. In this blog we outline the most interesting Amazon global insights that will be of interest to brands determining where they should have a presence on the marketplace, particularly Amazon in emerging markets. Population, urbanisation and GDP per capita are all factors which have a large effect on ecommerce and marketplace strategy in a country. These factors need to be taken into consideration when understanding the potential a brand has when entering a new market. We highlight notable takeaways from the report below. Price of Amazon Prime The monthly cost of Amazon Prime varies greatly depending on how developed the Amazon market is in the country. We noticed that in countries with a higher GDP per capita and a more dominant Amazon presence, the price of Prime is substantially higher, for example, in the US ($14.99) and in the UK ($10.08). The monthly cost of Prime in the UK has [recently increased by $1.26](https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-62297014) due to higher operating costs, but we believe that UK consumers will accept this increase. As a comparison, less developed markets with lower GDP per capita figures, such as Poland ($2.56) and Brazil ($3.12), have significantly lower monthly Prime prices. Amazon purposely prices Prime to be very cost-effective for customers in emerging markets as a customer acquisition strategy and to help grow its market share more quickly. Desktop vs. Mobile India, Japan and Mexico were found to have higher percentages of traffic from mobile devices compared to other markets. This is in line with data which looks at the [leading countries based on retail mobile commerce sales growth](https://www.statista.com/statistics/1261743/leading-countries-mobile-commerce-sales-growth/), and shows how particular countries spend more time online using mobiles rather than desktops. App Downloads & Ranking In this year’s report, we made the decision to include data on the Amazon App (Android), as more consumers are shopping online on mobile devices. This is reflected in the average monthly downloads and category rank of the app. Mexico sees an average of 1.2 million monthly downloads of the Amazon (Android) App. This is expected, as Mexico is one of the regions that has a higher percentage of traffic from mobile devices compared to desktops. In terms of average monthly Amazon web traffic, Mexico is the 9th largest out of the 17 countries analysed, but after the US and Brazil, is the 3rd largest in terms of monthly downloads of the Android App, highlighting the country’s preference for using the Amazon App. Visit Duration & Page Views In markets where Amazon is robust and well developed, like the USA, UK and Germany, consumers tend to spend more time on the platform and view more pages per visit, as there is more choice from a wider range of products to explore. On the other hand, in markets where Amazon is still either at its early implementation or growing phase, like the Netherlands, Poland, and Brazil, there is less on offer and a far smaller selection or products. Inevitably, we noticed consumers have a lower average visit duration and view fewer pages in these markets. We would expect to see these metrics increase as Amazon’s product selection increases in these markets. Top Selling Categories There are many similarities between the different markets in terms of the top selling categories in each country. Out of 17 countries, 12 had Home & Kitchen and 11 had Electronics in their top 3 categories. Regional differences can be seen with Sports & Outdoors only ranking as a top category in the UK, Video Games only in Japan, and Hardware only in Germany. It is important for brands to acknowledge that not all categories will sell successfully across all markets. Just because the category is popular in one or more markets, does not mean that it will work across all 17 instances that we have analysed. Our Amazon consumer insights report shows that although the online marketplace dominates online retail in the USA and several other Western European countries, the company is aiming to build that position in countries where it is newer in the market by taking into account the regional differences in consumer behaviour and expectations within its proposition. [Download the full report here](https://info.pattern.com/amazon-consumer-insights-report-2022), and [contact us here](https://pattern.com/uk/contact-us/) to learn how we could support your global marketplace strategy or for more information on how we partner with brands to represent them on Amazon.