image of pet parent shopping at pet supply store

What Are Pet Parents Shopping For? 3 Pet Shopper Behaviors and How to Reach Pet Parents Year-Round

No Shortage of Pet Parents

There’s no shortage of pet parents—especially after this year’s rise in adoptions during the pandemic lockdown. And each of them loves their pets. They’re reading labels to bring the best possible products to their 4-legged friends and brands are responding by offering higher quality options to appeal their priorities. 

Recently, SPINS released a report looking at the trends affecting the pet industry and explored the behavior pet shoppers. So who are today’s pet parents? 

The Majority of Households Have Pets

The majority of American households have pets. Nearly 7-in-10 households have purchased pet food and treats in the past year, according to data from IRI All Outlet Panel that is enhanced with SPINS Product Attribution. Over the past year: 

  • 61% of households bought pet food and treats at least twice. 
  • 35% of households bought dog food 
  • 28% of households bought cat food 
  • 28% of households bought dog treats 
graphic showing that most households have pets

When we look specifically at the natural, specialty, and wellness pet shoppers for the past year, we find: 

  • 30% of households have bought pet food and treats at least twice in the past year
  • 13% of households have bought dog food 
  • 13% of households have bought dog treats 
  • 6.7% of households have bought cat food 

Pet Owners Care About Diets

As we mentioned before, pet owners are reading labels in search of a variety of attributes: raw, grain-free, natural, and more. With bags of kibble easy to find at specialty and conventional stores, these thoughtful pet owners are shopping with a purpose. Research firm FINN CADY surveyed pet owners and found: 

  • Approximately 60% of dog and cat owners are very or somewhat concerned about their pet’s nutrition  
  • Approximately 8 in 10 dog and cat owners strongly or somewhat agree that what their pet eats impacts his or her health  
  • More than 8 in 10 dog and cat owners strongly or somewhat agree that what their pet eats affects his or her lifespan  
  • Nearly 8 in 10 dog and cat owners strongly or somewhat agree that what their pet eats affects his or her happiness  

Pets Enjoy Special Occasions, Too

Pets aren’t just getting fed high quality food twice a day. They’re getting treats on holidays and special occasions, too, just like any family member. According to FINN CADY: 

graphic illustrating statistics of pet parents who give their pets only the best products
  • More than 40% of dog owners and 25% of cat owners have purchased clothing or costumes for their pets. Dog owners are more likely to buy both clothing and costumes.  
  • More than ½ of dog and cat owners give their pets a gift or treat at Christmas  
  • Half of dog owners and approximately ⅓ of cat owners celebrate a pet’s birthday with a treat or gift  
  • Nearly ¼ of dog and cat owners give their pets a gift or treat to celebrate Halloween  

What This Means for You

When pet parents say their dogs and cats are part of the family, they mean it. They’re choosing foods that keep their pets healthy. They’re buying them gifts and remembering their birthdays. These pet parents are researching products before they make a purchase and visiting pet stores repeatedly, not just to stock up on food and treats. You have multiple opportunities to connect with them year-round.  

See how SPINS Pet Community can help you get in front of pet parents and read more about the growing trends driving the pet industry.     

The pet landscape is becoming more competitive every day. Make sure you have the data you need to more than just compete, make sure you have the data and insights to give you the upper hand.  Making SPINS your exclusive partner will get you to your goals quickly. 

If you are a pet retailer, join our pet community and get insights from SPINS on newly emerging products, attributes, and shopper trends.

If you are a pet brand, SPINS has your key retail account down to store level plus our newly launched pet channel can bring you the market view you need to better understand your competitive set.  


Why Pet Brands Need Key Account Data: 4 Data Points That Pet Retailers Care About

Before your next meeting with a pet specialty retailer, make sure you have the data they’re looking for. Key Account data gives you insights into your product performance on that retailer’s shelves so you can show that you understand their business and customers. Let Key Account data help you have effective conversations with retailers so your business can grow.