Caring for a pet is about more than diet and calorie intake. A more holistic approach is taken to managing a pet’s health with attention to longevity and quality of life. Beyond pet foods, pet nutritional supplements are what allow pet owners to not only manage health issues but improve the overall health and well-being of their pet.
North America is the largest in terms of absolute retail value, while Asia Pacific is one of the fastest growing regions
Source: Euromonitor International
The global pet nutritional supplements market is estimated to be a USD 2.1 billion market by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 7% during the period 2018-2023. Regionally, North America is the largest in terms of absolute retail value, while Asia Pacific is one of the fastest growing regions, overtaking Western Europe in total size. While in China the category is becoming more specialized and humanized, in South Korea leading pharmaceutical players are entering the market with new launches. The category is not just limited to healthcare players. Nestlé Purina in the UK, for example, offers a range of supplements to complement its range of pet foods. While dietary supplements remain an additional offering in a pet’s diet and may be challenged in times of economic pressure, consumer and manufacturer focus on pet nutrition is expected to support category performance.
Humanization and states of necessity support the development of categories
Consumers’ focus on the health and well-being of their pet is rooted in taking care of their own well-being and taking the necessary steps towards it.
62.4% of pet owners either agreed or strongly agreed that they consider vitamins and supplements important to their overall health and nutrition – higher than 53.3% of non-pet owners who felt the same
Source: Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition Survey 2023
As consumers become health conscious and adopt a proactive approach, they extend the same behavior to their pets – a phenomenon that can be better understood through the lens of pet humanization. Players in the pet healthcare space are also building on this trend when bringing innovation to the category. In South Korea, Daewoong Pharmaceutical has released a dietary supplement for pets, called Impactamin Pet, which looks exactly like its best seller, Impactamin, a human supplement. In China, Lactoferrin, a common additive in baby food, is now a popular supplement for pets. PetPlate in the US offers calming supplements made with ashwagandha and L-theanine, which are known to promote relaxation.
A key element of pet supplement buyer behavior is understanding the specific benefits a consumer is looking for. With an emphasis on the holistic well-being of pets, consumers aim to address specific situations of need. These can range from physical needs such as mobility and dental health to functional needs such as weight management and extend to emotional needs such as calmness and stress management. It has also been observed that brands position their products based on the need situations they address. For example, premium pet supplement brand Zami Pet in Australia allows shoppers to search for supplements based on need as it sorts its products on its website accordingly.
While familiar ingredients help create consumer association, calling out targeted need situations helps highlight specific benefits and thus the value proposition of the offering.
Devising the right channel strategy
As players both inside and outside the pet healthcare industry look to include pet nutritional supplements in their portfolio, a key consideration is the channel(s) through which these products can be purchased. Although brick-and-mortar stores will account for two-thirds of global pet care retail value sales in 2023, the channel has lost share to e-commerce. Today, beyond convenience, e-commerce serves as a platform for product discovery and price comparison for consumers. For brands, it can potentially serve as a good starting point, with a D2C strategy that enables a better connection with the digital consumer.
Looking at Zesty Paws, what started as a digitally native brand has grown today into an omnichannel player with a presence in pet stores, pharmacies and independent stores across the US. Tracking the brand’s US online growth and performance through Euromonitor’s new e-commerce system shows us that the brand continues to lead US pet nutritional supplement e-commerce, with quarterly sales increasing year-on-year.
In January 2023, the Wellness Pet Company in the US also launched its new line of dog supplements online through Amazon, Chewy and Petco, with plans to expand in-store within the year. The inaugural range has offerings that target conditions of need for mobility, relaxation, immunity, digestion and coat support.
Using the Internet as an entry point into a retail market and then expanding offline shows how pet nutritional supplement brands are taking an omnichannel approach to enter, grow and expand a market. The right channel also plays a key role in increasing category awareness by ensuring that the product is available where the consumer is. A distribution strategy should therefore seek to align with where, when and how often a brand would like to engage its customers.
Watch this space for an upcoming report on holistic wellness in pet care.
For information on premiumization in pet care, read our report, Premiumization in Pet Care: Inflation and Beyond.