The first annual petcare market report, released by Mars Petcare, has revealed that Britain’s cats and dogs have emerged from lockdown licking their lips as pet treats sales boom.
Across the board, treats value sales surged year on year from the week of the UK’s first COVID-19 case in February to the partial lifting of lockdown 12 weeks later.
Mars Petcare has reported that sales of its Dreamies brand grew 12.9%, while Pedigree grew 11.8%, as treating occasions rose 12% in the weeks following lockdown.
Nick Foster, category and marketing director at Mars Petcare, said: “The pet treats boom shows the crucial role pets play in providing companionship, particularly in times of stress.
“The last few months have been challenging for everyone, so it makes sense that many have sought to ease the strain by treating their pets as they were forced to stay inside. Treating is a way of strengthening the bond we have with our pets, rewarding good behaviour and looking after their health needs. It also gives us a powerful emotional reward.”
The wider pet food and litter market saw sales climb 3.4% in the 12 weeks to May 16, with treats’ growth gathering pace as lockdown continued. In the final four weeks, cat treats’ growth accelerated to 7.7%. Over the same period, positive dog treats grew by 8.8%
With one in three owners only ever treating their pets with functional products like dental chews, this boom in treating represents a significant opportunity, particularly for specialist pet retailers.
Mr Foster said: “The significant growth of the category shows just how expandable the pet treats market is.
“Dedicated pet shops have the opportunity to educate pet owners on the different products available and, by encouraging them to buy a wider repertoire of treats for a greater number of uses – such as to show love, reward, train or address health issues – we can drive more growth.”