Submitted by Market Crumbs
Americans love their pets. The percentage of U.S. households that own a pet has grown from 56% in 1988 to 67% in 2019, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey.
U.S. sales of pet products and services hit a record $95.7 billion last year as it’s estimated sales will grow to $99 billion this year, according to the APPA.
Pet Food & Treats accounted for $37.9 billion, or nearly 40%, of last year’s total sales and is expected to grow by another 4% this year. Vet Care & Product Sales accounted for another $29.3 billion of the total as the APPA called it a “significant jump from previously reported spending figures.”
With Americans increasingly bringing pets into their homes, Walmart announced yesterday a bigger push into the pet industry with the launch of Walmart Pet Care. Walmart Pet Care is a full-service pet care offering giving customers the ability to shop for additional services such as pet insurance and pet care services like dog-walking and pet sitting.
Walmart is teaming up with pet insurance provider Petplan to offer comprehensive pet insurance that can be used at any licensed veterinarian in the U.S. and Canada. Walmart is offering new customers $1,000 worth of online virtual vet appointments at no additional charge. Walmart Pet Care also offers Walmart PetRx, which is Walmart’s in-store and online pharmacy service for pets.
“We’re on a mission to help families live better – and that goes for pets, too,” Walmart Pets vice president of merchandising Melody Richard said. “Especially as adoption rates soar as a result of the pandemic, and more people become pet owners, this was the perfect time to launch expanded services in Walmart Pet Care for our customers.”
As part of Walmart Pet Care, Walmart is also teaming up with Rover to offer pet sitting and dog walking services. Walmart is trying to attract users to sign up through Rover by offering a $20 Walmart gift card for their first service and another $20 gift card if they complete five services in six months.
“As the most shopped omnichannel retailer for pet products, our new pet care services and support offer our customers trusted, convenient services that provide the exceptional care their pets deserve,” Richard said.
With the pandemic leading many people to take in pets, Walmart is undoubtedly going after Chewy, which has been one of the largest beneficiaries in the pet products and services sector. The ProShares Pet Care ETF, which is an ETF that “allows investors to capitalize on people’s passion for their pets,” is up more than 100% from its March low and just below all-time highs.
While the pandemic has fueled interest in adopting pets, pet ownership has been increasing steadily for decades and Walmart’s latest move should turn out to be a good move in the long term.