SPINS, a wellness-focused data technology company and advocate for the natural and specialty products industry, has been keeping an eye on the pet industry for more than 20 years, particularly this year. To help retailers keep abreast of the industry, SPINS recently released a report centered on the hottest pet trends in 2020. It also launched SPINS Neighborhood Pet Channel, which aims to bring a united voice to independent pet retailers.

“While some of this year’s trends are newer, others have been on our radar for years and are finally becoming more mainstream,” officials said in a statement. “No matter what, they indicate that the days of transactional relationships with customers are over. Succeeding in the pet industry now means showing customers that you not only understand animals but that you care about them as if they were your own.”

Trends to watch, according to SPINS, include:

  • The Rise of Natural. “Perhaps no trend reflects pet owners’ care for their pets more than the rising sales of natural products,” officials said. “While the pandemic has disrupted shopping habits this year, shoppers are exploring natural products and causing retailers and brands to take notice. Neighborhood pet specialty stores understand the effect this trend is having on business, as over 70 percent of their dollar sales come from natural, specialty and wellness products.”
  • Customizing the Pet Diet. “When they’re reading labels for their pets, shoppers are often looking for the same attributes that they look for in their own food,” officials said. “Pet owners are interested in high protein foods, natural ingredients and minimal or no preservatives or artificial flavors. That mindset is evident in sales trends for dog and cat food, where attributes are attracting shoppers and influencing what lands in their baskets. Natural, specialty and wellness-positioned products drive twice the growth of conventional products.”
  • The Struggle to Achieve Sustainability Inside and Out. “When consumers are reading labels, they’re not just thinking about what their pets are eating,” officials continued. “They care about where that food came from and what it means for the environment. Sustainability has been a growing focus for consumers across the retail space, and that includes pet parents. A study from First Insight finds that 73 percent of gen Z and 68 percent of millennials are willing to spend more for sustainable products.”
  • Enriching the Neighborhood Store Experience. “Prior to COVID-19, Packaged Facts projected that 23 percent of the pet market will be from online sales,” officials said. “Last year, estimated online revenue for pet products was $11 billion. For the neighborhood pet store, this might feel daunting, especially against some of the e-commerce Goliaths out there. This year’s quick rise in e-commerce came from the effects of the pandemic and cannot be ignored as a mainstay of today’s shoppers, but that doesn't mean it’s the only way to succeed in 2020. It’s just part of an overall omnichannel approach that reaches customers in the digital and brick and mortar spaces.”

“The pandemic has created a unique opportunity and a captive audience for both pet brands and retailers to experience expedited growth as people acquired all available pets from shelters and stores—a trend that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future,” said Tony Olson, owner and CEO of SPINS, which is based in Chicago. “Now more than ever, having the right data and expert insights, like those available through the SPINS Neighborhood Pet Channel, at their fingertips will help businesses make decisions that will position them for success in the future.”

While the SPINS Neighborhood Pet Channel provides retailers with the insights that will give them the answers they need to grow their business and differentiate in the crowded market, it also gives pet manufacturers the fuel they need to grow, innovate and scale their offerings, officials said.

“SPINS continues to make substantial investments in the natural product industry’s full ecosystem of innovation by supporting brands and retailers through access to market, benchmark and product intelligence data,” Olson said. “Now, with the introduction of our Neighborhood Pet Channel, SPINS builds upon our mission to increase the presence and accessibility of natural and better-for-you products through education for pets owners, which also translates into success for both pet brands and retailers.”

SPINS Pet Trends 2020: What’s Driving Today’s Pet Parents, can be found here.