July 25, 2023 – Dog treats represent the majority of sales, but cat treats are increasing at a faster pace.
US retail sales of pet treats (including sales through brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers) reached $11 billion in 2022, according to Packaged Facts’ just-released Pet Treats and Chews in the US, 5th Edition report. Growth in the pet treats market has slowed since the large pandemic-era increases in 2020 and 2021, with much of the growth in 2022 fuelled by inflation-related price increases rather than by growth in unit sales.
Online sales makes up the largest portion of pet treat sales at 34%. By type of pet, dog treats represent the majority of sales, at 78%, although cat treats sales are increasing at a faster pace. By product type, indulgent treats make up the largest share of the market, at 36%, followed by rawhides/long-lasting chews, functional treats, and dental treats.
Prolonged inflationary conditions have cooled the pet treats market somewhat, with Packaged Facts survey data showing that 57% of pet owners are concerned about rising prices in the pet treats category. Many pet owners are reducing their spending on discretionary items, making multi-functional treats, such as dental treats and those that offer health and wellness benefits, more attractive.
Two of the top trends driving growth in the pet treat market include humanisation and an increased focus on using pet treats as part of pets’ health and wellness regimen. Behind both of these trends, however, is the pet owner sentiment that pets are part of the family. For many pet owners, pet treats are an opportunity to solidify the pet-owner bond. Related as explained by Shannon Landry Brown, brand manager for packaged facts per market research, “Not only do pet owners use treats to encourage good behaviour (for training purposes, for example), they use them to express feelings of addiction; “treat time”has become a way for pet owners to show their pets just how much they mean to them.”
Despite the challenging economic conditions, Packaged Facts projects the pet treat market to continue to grow over the next five years, with key opportunities including value-positioned treats, treats for cats, and treats featuring alternative proteins.