Pet food grocery shopping resilience

More evidence of the resiliency of pet food and products in the recession appeared in a MediaPost article reporting on a study of grocery shopping behavior conducted by Digital Research and ThinkVine.   Many respondents reported changes in their shopping behavior such as stocking up on sale items, using coupons and switching to store brands.

Pet products were one of the categories most resistant to change. While 57% of respondents said they had made changes to save money on cookies, only 40% said the same for pet food.  Eleven percent had changed to buying a generic or store brand of cereal, for pet food the figure was 7%.

A similar finding was reported by Petfood Industry from a  survey described on the U.K. website Retail Bulletin.  Over half the people survey (59%) said they switched from national to private label brands for food and healthcare products, while less than one quarter (23%) switched to private label  pet food or supplies.

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Pet Spending Resilience

Retailwire reported on research regarding pet category retail spending before and during the current recession.  Pre-recession research showed that pet spending was less likely to suffer during a econonmic downturn than spending on groceries, household and luxury goods.  However, data on actual spending in the fourth quarter of 2008 showed that pet owners shifted their shopping trips so that they were buying more of their pet supplies at mass marketers and dollar stores rather than grocery and pet specialty retailers.  The story concludes with a warning that retailers may be able to count on pet owners to keep purchasing pet supplies, but they cannot take their loyalty and spending levels for granted.

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