Pet care records positive value sales growth but the marketplace faces challenges
Overall, the Canadian pet care market continued to see positive value growth, supported by premium positioned and natural positioned pet food, as well as categories such as healthcare. Price increases also contributed to the positive trend, as increased costs of ingredients and production were passed on to consumers. However, manufacturers and retailers found it increasingly difficult to drive volume sales, a trend not the least affected by challenges in increasing household pet ownership rates due to urbanisation and the ageing population in Canada While the latter previously served as a positive factor in driving demand for pets in the households of empty nesters and baby boomers, the ageing demographic is starting to have an unfavourable effect, as older Canadians find it difficult to manage higher maintenance pets. At the same time, urbanisation comes with restrictions on the size and number of pets allowed in households, especially fast-growing urban condominiums.
Canadian consumers seek premium products in mass market channels
Canadian pet owners continued to favour products that claimed better nutrition and quality ingredients as well as natural products. These were generally found in mid-priced and premium positioned products. However, while premium remained on the agenda as a pet food of choice, Canadians sought out products in mass market channels, such as grocery stores, as well as large pet superstores, for better and more affordable pricing and promotional deals, thereby slowing down the value sales growth rate. Furthermore, within premium, many Canadian pet owners questioned the benefits of enhanced products with added nutrients and life stage products (beyond puppy/kitten stage) and chose products that simply indicated balanced nutrition and those positioned as natural.
Small and niche players seek distribution opportunities outside mainstream retail
On the whole, retail sales of pet care products in Canada continued to be led by key players in the dog food and cat food categories – the largest categories overall within pet care. Nestlé Purina PetCare Co and Mars Canada Inc continued to be the number one and number two manufacturers/marketers in Canada. However, smaller and niche players, including small manufacturers of organic, natural-positioned and “home-made” pet food sought retail distribution alternatives to the mainstream mass market, from small pet food shops to an internet retailing presence through growing Canadian online-only retailers such as www.well.ca
Grocery retailers perform well while veterinary clinics lose customer traffic
Grocery retailers and pet superstores led retail distribution for pet care products, with grocery retailers being particularly strong in dog food and cat food. Both retail channels continued to offer a wide selection of products across all price ranges and brands, with grocers further benefitting from one-stop shopping. Specialised pet channels such as pet shops and pet superstores remained important for other pet care products, aside from dog food and cat food. Veterinary clinics continued to lose customer traffic as pet owners sought better pricing for products of comparable quality. However, veterinarians did see a rise in prescription/therapeutic products sales (including prescription dog food and cat food) which are generally only distributed through the clinics and are strongly recommended for providing sick and old animals with specialised nutrition.
Modest growth is forecast as challenges are expected to mount
Positive, but modest, growth is expected for Canadian pet care in the forecast period. Drivers of growth will include a preference for premium products in dog food and cat food, as well as demand for OTC healthcare products to save on vet bills. However, challenges ahead include the sluggish growth overall in pet ownership, especially large and mid-size dogs and cats, caused by factors such as urbanisation and the continued housing trend towards condominium complexes (with pet restrictions), and the ageing population. Opportunities include a shift to smaller pets (smaller dog breeds) and other pets (small mammals and reptiles) as well as pet care products such as pet clothing, accessories, toys and other products apart from food.
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The Pet Care in Canada 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 Canada?
- What are the major brands in Canada?
- 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.