Pet care remains “recession proof” in Belgium up to 2013
The economic environment in Belgium theoretically does not act in favour of sales of pet care. Belgium was back in recession at the end of 2012 and in early 2013. Poor GDP growth, weak consumer confidence and slightly waning traffic in the retailing environment slowed down value sales across industries. However, demand for pet care products in Belgium remains dynamic and consumers have made few changes to their shopping habits when it comes to meeting the needs of their pets. The industry still performed relatively well in 2012 and early 2013, posting positive growth in current value terms.
Premiumisation props up value sales of pet care
Despite the relative resilience of pet care to the economic situation in Belgium, the industry still faces macro threats, chiefly in the form of the pet population itself. Due to the urbanisation of the country and thus increasingly hectic lifestyles, Belgians have less time to take care of pets in general, which has an overall negative impact on pet population. In turn, this led to shrinking volume sales in the review period, which will continue in 2013. Even so, value growth in pet care has remained largely positive up to 2013 due to not only rising unit prices but also consumers’ trading up to premium brands. Brand offerings are increasingly segmented – by lifestyle, age, size or even breed – as illustrated by the impressive success of food for neutered cats. Newly launched novelties in pet care often reflect trends that drive sales in human markets, including health and wellness, the need of more convenience and the development of products aimed at more sedentary lifestyles.
Belgium’s two leading multinational pet food companies – Mars Belgium and Nestlé Purina PetCare – continued to lead pet care in Belgium in 2012 through their strong positions in dog and cat food. Their strong brand names such as Whiskas, Frolic and Cesar from Mars Belgium and Gourmet, Purina ONE, Friskies and Felix from Nestlé Purina PetCare are well established and easily recognisable by Belgian consumers. Private label accounts for a high share in pet care overall, but it nonetheless has failed to develop in premium dog and cat food. The remainder of the industry is fragmented, with value sales divided amongst premium manufacturers such as Royal Canin Benelux, Iams Petfood International and Hill’s Pet Products Benelux whilst Beaphar Belgium and Karlie Heimtierbedarf hold a strong position in pet products.
Grocery retailers lead but progress less than specialist channels
Supermarkets is set to continue accounting for the highest proportion of pet care distribution during 2013. Most Belgian consumers tend to purchase products for their pets at the same time as they purchase grocery products for themselves and their families; one-stop shopping is therefore much more convenient for Belgian pet owners. However, the development of veterinary clinics and pet superstores, notably Tom & Co, is expected to be faster in 2013, as these channels offer the best products and advice. Independent pet shops are finding it more difficult in 2013, notably due to less competitive prices and a less wide offering. Outsiders such as the garden centre chain Aveve are will continue to gain ground in pet care in 2013.
Added value to support value growth in the forecast period
Economic uncertainty looks set to continue in Belgium during the forecast period. Nonetheless, the outlook for the pet care industry is still that of resilience to the economic difficulties in comparison with other fmcg industries. This is a testament to the unwillingness of Belgian pet owners to compromise on their pets’ wellbeing. Thanks to the expected ongoing success of dog and cat treats, premium dry cat and dog food and some niches in the remaining categories, pet care is expected to record slow but still positive constant value growth over 2013-2018.
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The Pet Care in Belgium market research report includes:
- Analysis of key supply-side and demand trends
- Detailed segmentation of international and local products
- Historic volumes and values, company and brand market shares
- Five year forecasts of market trends and market growth
- Robust and transparent market research methodology, conducted in-country
Our market research reports answer questions such as:
- What is the market size of Pet Care in Belgium?
- What are the major brands in Belgium?
- How did the downturn affect pet care spending?
- Which is the best-performing category within pet care?
- Which is the fastest-growing pet food manufacturer?
- How have pet specialists fared in recent years?
- What are growth prospects for pet care in the next 5 years?
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Pet Care market research database.