Key Audiences & Searches in 2017
Top 10 Pet Websites
PetSmart’s recent acquisition of Chewy.com marks a major move towards consolidation in the pet supply industry. Mergers like this signify (at least in part) a strategic resistance against today’s challenging e-commerce climate; as with many retail categories, Amazon pulls a huge share of online pet supply purchases.
In light of this, we will analyze how different e-commerce sites and pet supply brands are performing against one another and within the context of Amazon.
Below, we rank the top 10 most-visited websites in the Pets & Animals industry as of May 2017. Chewy has remained the most dominant e-commerce player for quite some time, and was undeniably a savvy purchase on the part of PetSmart. Combined, they pull over 10% of the pet industry visit share.
Brand Search Share
Although Chewy gets the most visit share within the Pets & Animals industry, they do not receive the most search share. Below, we break down the top 10 branded searches driving traffic to the pet industry, based on terms pulled over 12 rolling weeks ending 6/24/2017.
When charting these terms over three years, we see PetSmart and Petco pull the bulk of branded searches; these two clearly benefit from their established brick-and-mortar presences, which keeps them top-of-mind for consumers. However, as we saw in the previous section, Chewy ultimately pulls more website visits, likely due to high paid and organic search performance, competitive pricing, and other strategies which caught the attention of PetSmart for acquisition.
As we see below, searches for PetSmart and Petco have been in relative decline since August of last year, while searches for Chew and Chewy.com have accelerated.
Clickstream Spotlight: Chewy vs. Amazon
Now for the elephant in the room: Amazon. Let’s take a look at the journey that shoppers take before and after they visit Chewy.com, specifically in relation to Amazon.
Unsurprisingly, a significant number of visitors to Chewy.com are ultimately conquested by Amazon. Amazon pulls nearly 200,000 additional post-Chewy.com visitors, who are presumably looking to compare prices or complete their final purchase on Amazon instead.
That being said, nearly all e-commerce websites are losing shoppers to Amazon, so what matters is relative retention. Chewy’s attrition is relatively small when compared to the industry standard; although they are losing shoppers to Amazon, they are relatively better at retention than the pet supply industry as a whole.
Cat vs. Dog Owners: Branded Searches
So far, we’ve talked about marketplaces like Chewy, but what about the brands who produce pet products, like Purina or Tidy Cats? One of the best ways brands can increase market share is by understanding how their audiences search on different online marketplaces.
Here, we compared internal cat- vs. dog-related searches within two major pet supply websites (selected from the top five industry sites, and not owned by the same company). Both pet supply sites receive more dog searches, but the difference is slightly greater for Site A (4.96% more dog searches) than Site B (3.13% more dog searches).
However, the ratio between cat and dog searches shifts if we narrow down to a single food brand, like Purina. Site A has over 2.5X more dog-related Purina searches than cat-related ones; for Site B, both cat- and dog-related Purina searches are dead even.
Purina might consider stocking more dog products on Site A, and possibly partnering to advertise to dog owners on this website. Meanwhile, they might want to tailor their inventory and advertising on Site B towards cat owners.
Cat vs. Dog Owners: Audience Differences
How should brands tailor their advertising and messaging towards cat versus dog owners? This infographic breaks down the audience differences of cat owners an dog owners, from demographics to attitudes.
Source: Pet industry visit share pulled during the month of May 2017. Search share pulled over 3 years between May 2014 – June 2017. Clickstream data pulled over 4 weeks ending 6/*24/2017. Cat vs. Dog searches pulled from custom analysis of internal searches on top pet supply websites during the month of June 2017. Audience data on cat vs. dog owners pulled over 4 weeks ending 6/24/2017.