Pet buyer universe perks up

Jul 01, 2008 9:30 PM  By

There’s no question: People love their pets. The American Pet Products Manufacturing Association (APPMA) estimates that consumers will spend more than $10.5 billion on supplies and over-the-counter medications for their pets in 2008, up from $9.9 billion in 2007.

The pet supplies catalog list market is growing, too, though slowly. The total 12-month active universe was 2.4 million names in the first quarter of 2008, up 2%, or 56,000 names, over the first quarter of 2007, according to New York-based list brokerage services firm ParadyszMatera. During the past two years the total universe grew 14%, or by 296,000 names.

The pet supplies lists with the largest 12-month universe counts have stayed relatively stable during the past year. Doctors Foster and Smith maintains its position in the top-two spots with the list for its core dog and cat catalog (1.2 million) and the file that includes buyers from its other specialty books for birds, fish, reptiles and small animals (223,000).

The majority of files in this segment come in under the 100,000-name mark. Rounding out the top five are PetEdge (169,000), Dog.com (156,000), and Only Natural Pet Store (119,000). Pet supplies behemoths PetSmart and PetCo do not release their mailing lists, and therefore were not included.

Only Natural Pet Store, which sells natural, holistic and organic goods for dogs and cats, saw its file gain the most names in the past year — up 55,000 to reach 119,000 names as of the first quarter of 2008. It attributes the growth to prospecting and increased consumer interest in natural foods; the merchant’s average order is $50.

Also seeing strong growth in its file was PetEdge, which added 39,000 names to reach a total of 169,000. The mailer, which credits its growth to increased prospecting, has an average order of $150.

Only Natural Pet Store is one of the more active discounters, usually offering 5% off orders of more than $75. G.W. Little typically offers a premium (silver charm) with $150+ orders.

But incentive use by pet supplies mailers is down overall in early 2008. While roughly 38% offered incentives during 2007, that number dropped to 22% as of the first quarter of this year. Free shipping saw a slight drop from 16% in 2007 to 14% in the current year-to-date.

House file universe: pet supplies catalogs

1Q 2006 2Q 2006 3Q 2006 4Q 2006 1Q 2007 2Q 2007 3Q 2007 4Q 2007 1Q 2008
Total universe 2.14 2.12 2.29 2.31 2.38 2.41 2.44 2.47 2.44

Pet supplies catalogs with the largest active-buyer files

Rank List name 1Q 2008 house file universe Average order
1 Doctors Foster and Smith Catalog Buyers 1,183,886 $70
2 Doctors Foster and Smith 223,260 $60
3 PetEdge 168,659 $150
4 Dog.com 155,779 $115
5 Only Natural Pet Store 118,740 $50