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Live from NACDS Total Store Expo

BY DSN STAFF
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Consumers need a little help shopping for their furry friends

BY Mark Hamstra

Consumers continue to turn to online and specialty retail channels for their pet care needs, but drug retailers can do more to assist shoppers in making purchasing decisions in store.

With grooming tools in particular, consumers can be guided toward selecting the right product for their pet with effective in-store communications, said John B. Vasone, national sales manager at ConairPRO Pet. “There is limited space in most stores, but any type of signage or header that provides the consumer with information on how to choose the right grooming tool for their pet, based on size and coat type, helps,” he said.

Brushes, slickers and combs come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and are specialized for certain functions and for specific areas of the pet’s body — such as the ConairPRO Gentle Slicker Brush, which can be used for gentle grooming on the face and other sensitive areas. The same type of product segmentation applies to electric and battery-powered trimmers.

As more consumers own pets, they are learning about the importance of maintaining the healthy coats of their furry family members, Vasone explained. “They are looking for the right grooming tool or tools to keep their pet groomed and looking good,” he said.

In terms of trends in the category, Vasone noted that shedding is the No.1 concern of pet owners. “Any type of slicker brush or deshedding tool is in demand,” he said.

Vasone said ConairPRO’s Groom-Me line of hand-held grooming tools has been doing well. “They fit comfortably in your hand, and they groom without any strain on the hand,” he said. Using the products, he explained, is “just like petting your dog or cat.”

The products are held in the palm of the user’s hand with a grip that slides between the fingers. The Groom-Me line includes a Bristle Brush, a Gentle Slicker Brush, a Slicker Brush, a Shampoo Massage Brush, a Curry Comb and a Metal Pin Brush.

According to research from the American Pet Products Association, U.S. shoppers spent more than $62 billion in 2016 on pet supplies and pet care items, up from $60 billion in 2015 and $58 billion in 2014.

Sales of pet food and supplies/OTC medicine were expected to reach $24 billion and almost $15 billion, respectively, in 2016, up significantly from 2015. APPA tracks the pet supplies segment to include such items as grooming tools, beds, collars, leashes, toys, litter, food and water bowls and pet apparel.

Driving the growth is the American consumer’s — especially millennials’ — tendency to treat pets as members of the family. There’s been a spike, for example, in apparel for pets, and mounting demand for shampoos and grooming implements, noted APPA CEO and president Bob Vetere.

A prime example comes from Wahl Clipper, which in addition to its line of “human” grooming tools, also features grooming tools and products for pets, including a no-rinse, foaming shampoo made from natural oils and water that help to soften a dog’s coat, which can be left on to air dry or towel off, said Shay Moeller, product manager, North American Consumer Pet at Wahl Clipper.

Wahl also has developed a line of cat grooming products, including no-water-needed shampoo, freshening wipes and a line of grooming tools.

The pet products category overall has seen strong growth, but retailers will need to work hard to prevent online players from siphoning sales share from brick-and-mortar stores. Pet products have been among the categories that have found a good fit with e-commerce, as many of the items are replenished regularly and often are relatively heavy to carry.

According to a report from e-commerce research firm One Click Retail, Amazon.com saw its U.S. pet product sales increase 40% in 2016, a rate 10 times faster than sales growth in the pet category overall, which grew 4%, to $67.5 billion in U.S. sales. Amazon captured an estimated $2 billion of that total, according to One Click Retail.

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Report: Most back-to-school shopping set to be in store

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

PHILADELPHIA — Parents may be using mobile to look for deals this back-to-school season, but most purchases are happening in-store.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of shoppers will make their back-to-school purchases in-store vs. 32% who would prefer to shop only online, according to the “2017 Back-to-School Sales Report,” from ChargeItSpot.

When it comes to finding back-to-school deals, 30% of shoppers planned to use mobile coupon apps as their main source for sales promotions. Others planned to use online deal sites (19%), newspapers/magazines (12%), retail newsletters/catalogs (9%), social media (8%), and radio/TV (5%).

“Back-to-school shopping is one of the busiest shopping seasons for retailers,” said Douglas Baldasare, CEO and founder of ChargeItSpot. “With school supplies becoming more expensive and more high-tech, our findings show that parents are serious about finding the best deals.”

When asked how much they would likely spend on back-to-school shopping, most parents planned to spend between $100 and $300 and under $100 (both categories tied at 30%); 19% planned to spend between $300 and $500, 11% would spend between $500 and $700, only 6% planned to spend more than $1,000, and 5% planned to spend between $700 and $1,000.

Meanwhile, 42% said they would be shopping for one student, 30% said two students, 15% were shopping for three students, and 13% would shop for four or more students, data revealed.

Clothing will garner the most sales, with 58% of parents will be spending most of their money on apparel during back-to-school shopping this year. Only 16% said they would spend the most on traditional school supplies (pens, pencils, etc.), 16% will buy shoes.

Meanwhile, 10% are purchasing electronics — and merchandise runs the gamut. For example, 32% are in the market for computers/laptops, 15% are eyeing tablets, 13% will buy smartphones, 10% need calculators, and 7% will spend on accessories. One-fourth (25%) will not make any electronics purchases.

Hoping to get a jump on the deals — and crowds —28% planned to start shopping one month before school starts. Others started earlier in the summer (27%), and 24% would begin a few weeks before school starts. Another 24% would wait until a week before school starts (24%), and 9% will wait until after school starts.

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