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How COVID-19 Is Impacting Pet Store Sales


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Toilet paper, cleaning supplies and baking goods aren’t the only products disappearing from shelves during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, pet food and pet supplies are, too, according to Womply, which analyzes revenue data at local businesses in all 50 states. Americans have been stocking up on such products to comply with social distancing measures and “shelter-in-place” ordinances, officials said.

During the week of March 16, pet stores across the country saw large increases in revenue compared to the same period in 2019, data showed. This was especially prevalent in the west, where states like Colorado, Nevada and Montana saw revenue more than double compared to the year-ago period. Only seven states saw a year-over-year decrease in revenue, according to the data.

Womply officials also took a look at how sales are trending compared to the same time last year. Overall, according to the data, pet store sales have been consistently up all year. On March 12, the day after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, sales jumped to 34 percent above the year-ago period. On March 16, sales shot up to 57 percent when several states shut down bars and restaurants.

Some states have been stocking up more than others. For example, pet owners in Colorado have been stocking up on pet supplies since March 11, the day after Colorado Mayor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency, according to officials. In fact, sales shot up 137 percent. On March 13, the day Colorado reported its first COVID-19 fatality, sales jumped to 156 percent above 2019’s figures. And that wasn’t even the peak. Pet store revenue hit a 191 percent increase on March 16 after the state ordered the closure of dine-in restaurants, bars and other types of businesses, according to officials.

New York is another state where pet owners have been taking preparation measures. New York pet stores shot up to a 273 percent increase as pet owners prepared for the statewide stay-at-home order, data revealed. Sales at pet stores in the New York metro area rose to a 335 percent increase on March 16, clearing the shelves at pet stores all over the city, officials said.

California pet stores have also experienced the uptick. Sales first spiked on March 13 just as schools across the state were being canceled and restrictions against mass gatherings went into effect, officials noted.

Looking at individual cities in California, the San Francisco Bay Area saw pet store sales rise 158 percent. In Los Angeles, sales doubled 2019’s totals on March 14, again on March 16 and nearly doubled up once more on March 20, officials said.

So, what’s next for pet stores? Womply officials have an answer: “If COVID-19 continues to spread in the U.S., we can expect continued runs on pet stores across the country. Particularly as more states and cities order “shelter in place” or “stay at home” directives in an effort to control the spread of the virus. That will result in spiky revenue patterns as consumers decimate store shelves, followed by pet stores trying to restock. In general, this bodes well for pet store revenue, although their inability to restock could lead to long-term softening in revenue.”

 

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