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Online Shopping for Pet Food: Who, Where, and Why?

Do you want to communicate more effectively with pet owners?

ACA Research conducts a 6-monthly omnibus survey of 500+ Australian pet owners (must own a cat and/or a dog) and this article outlines a number of key findings from the study on the hot topic of online purchasing of pet food. How did pet owners respond when asked about shopping for pet food on the internet? Who is buying pet food online, why are they doing so, and what would motivate more of them to do so?

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Online retailing is growing strongly. In the last two years, online spending in Australia has nearly doubled and Australians already spend hundreds of millions of dollars shopping online every year. Despite this, many are not yet shopping on the internet, or only buying a few items.

One in five pet owners surveyed are currently buying some or all of their groceries online, but, while many of these online shoppers are positive about buying pet food online, a big percentage of them have not converted this intent into action. For those looking to market pet food online or to build an online presence, it will help to understand the demographics and motivations of pet owners in this respect. This is what ACA’s new study has revealed.

Young, busy pet owners shop online

As you might expect, those already buying their groceries online are more likely to purchase pet food online too. They are more likely to be younger people (under 35) –people in the age bracket 55+ appear to strongly prefer shopping in brick and mortar stores – and are more likely to own both cats and dogs. These online shoppers are more likely to also have children at home.

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Convenience: the perceived benefit

In sum, those most likely to consider shopping online for pet food appear to be time-poor and living in a busy household with children or multiple pets. It is then, perhaps, not surprising that the biggest perceived benefits of online pet food purchasing focus around convenience rather than price.

Where would people prefer to shop?

Amongst those, at least, willing to purchase pet food online opinion is split about where they would prefer to buy. Some shoppers say they would prefer to buy their pet food as part of their everyday grocery purchase, but an equal number say they would rather buy directly from a manufacturer website or a pet specialist online store. Whether due to the pet’s, the owner’s, or the veterinarian’s preference, it shows that some pet owners are unwilling to trade product or brand for absolute, one-stop convenience.

This report helps clarify some of the overarching motivations driving pet owners to buy pet food online. But what does this mean for your marketing strategy? It is clear, that for the time at least, channel strategy needs to cut across both ‘click’ and ‘brick’ stores, as well as grocery and specialty and, that the optimal channel mix is likely to depend upon your product or brand.

To learn more, download a free snapshot of the market research report on Online Purchasing of Pet Food by clicking on the button below.

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Topics: Market Research Animal Health Research