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March 01, 2020

Brakke study: Pet health product sales migrate to online sources

Published on February 12, 2020

About 31% of pet owners are sourcing at least some of their pet health products online, according to a new study from Brakke Consulting Inc.

Brakke Consulting logoOn Jan. 13, Brakke Consulting released “Pet Health Products: Changing Channels.” Based on national surveys of pet owners and veterinarians, the study documents the rapid migration of pet health product sales to online sources.

“Nearly two thirds of veterinary practices (63%) offer online ordering and home delivery, up 16% in the last two years,” according to key findings from the study. “However, client awareness of that service lags. Still, this is a $550-$600 million market being serviced by veterinarians.

“Although 20% of pet owners have ordered products or received refills via home delivery from their vet, an additional 25% would order from the vet if their vet offered the service or they were aware that their vet does already offer the service.”

Chart: Pet owners purchasing pet health products online
Source: Brakke Consulting Inc.

Online sales and home delivery for veterinary clinics are primarily handled by three companies: Covetrus, a public company; VetSource, a private firm; and MyVetStore, a service of Midwest Veterinary Supply.

Leading online retailers for pet health product sales include Chewy, Amazon, and 1-800-PetMeds. About 17% of pet owners purchase pet health products online from Chewy, 12% from Amazon, and 9% from 1-800-PetMeds. Online retailers are making their greatest inroads into flea and tick products, heartworm preventives, and therapeutic diets, according to the study.

Another factor at play in channel use is demographics. Among pet owners age 55 or older, 89% consider the veterinarian to be the most trusted source of information about pets, whereas only 5% say the same about online sources. For pet owners age 18-34, only about half consider the veterinarian to be the most trusted source of information, and 29% put more trust in online sources. Younger consumers also are the most oriented to online purchasing.