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Consumers upgrading when comes to pets

BY Barbara White-Sax

Products that focus on convenience are winning big in the pet category. “Boomers are still driving so much of the category,” said Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association. “They love their pets, but they still live active lifestyles. Products that make pet care more convenient have become very popular.”

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

Car restraint systems, which help people travel with their pets; timed watering and feeding devices, which allow pet owners to leave the house for extended periods of time; and even videos that keep pets glued to the television are becoming more widespread. New research from the Global Market Development Center, in conjunction with Radian and Nielsen, shows that sales of pet accessories were up 6% in the drug channel in 2012. 

Odor-fighting products and stain removers also are key growth areas in the category. “People are leaving their pet alone for longer periods, and accidents happen,” Vetere said. “More choices in these segments alleviate the worry for many consumers.” 

As for pet food, GMDC’s research indicates that wet and moist dog foods continue to lose share to dry food. Their research shows that sales of dog and cat food were up slightly in the drug channel, and that drug stores had substantial growth in the dry segment in 2012. Premium and superpremium foods are driving growth in the pet food segment, according to Packaged Facts. Grain-free and human-grade products are key trends.

Pet supplements, which also have had strong sales, should get prominent placement in the section. Research from Packaged Facts shows that 43% of dog owners and 36% of cat owners purchase some type of specialty nutritional formula pet food or supplemental nutritional products for their pets. David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts research director, said aging is the core market driver in the segment as more pets suffer from age-related conditions.

Supplements resembling treats are becoming a bigger force in the segment. The Packaged Facts study said that “palatability concerns and the human/pet bonding and fun factor of supplements in treat form has led to an explosion of functional biscuits and soft chews.” Alternative delivery formats — including gels and pastes, as well as gravies and powders designed to be added to pet food — also are gaining wider acceptance.

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Cirrus’ EarPlanes for Kids make ear plugs fun

BY Michael Johnsen

COLD SPRING HARBOR. N.Y. — Cirrus Healthcare Products earlier this summer launched a new licensed version of EarPlanes for Kids in conjunction with the new Disney "Planes" movie. EarPlanes are designed to be worn for air travel to reduce and prevent uncomfortable ear pressure during flight, including clogging, popping and pain.

 

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Focus on specialized needs boosts sales

BY Michael Johnsen

Sales of ear care products are booming, reaching $77.2 million, up 24.4%, for the 52 weeks ended July 14 across U.S. total multi-outlets, according to IRI. What was once considered a commodity category may be becoming more segmented.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

For example, Cirrus Healthcare is working toward segmenting the ear care market by educating consumers on the different purchase occasions. "What’s evolving is the realization that not all ear plugs are the same," said Lanny Lewis, SVP business development for Cirrus Healthcare. There are specially engineered ear plugs to alleviate problems associated with changing cabin pressure on flights, foam ear plugs for noise reduction and silicon ear plugs for protection from water. "What we’re trying to do is educate [the consumer] that there are different types of ear plugs and different shapes within the types."

Licensed ear plugs have become a key differentiator among children’s sizes, giving mom an assist by making the products more approachable to children.

The As Seen on TV ear care accessory WaxVac, an ear wax remover, also has been raking in the sales with more than $10.4 million in sales its first year in the mass market.

Within eye care, dry eye solutions have been trending up, with both Bausch + Lomb and Prestige Brands’ Clear Eyes making new introductions into the space. And sales of Zeiss eye and lens care accessories have really taken off. Dollar sales for the premium-positioned line totaled $19.6 million for the 52 weeks ended July 14, up 139.7%.

Another area trending up in lens care is hydrogen peroxide-based systems. As many as 87% of optometrists have been advocating these products lately, according to a recent survey conducted by Contact Lens Spectrum.

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