Market snapshot: Pet Owners Keep Shopping

The Pet Supplies Catalog Market Gained About 100,000 Active Names in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to New York-based list brokerages services firm ParadysMatera. This rise brought the segment back to the 2.5 million active-name mark, where it had peaked in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The number of active names may be dwarfed in comparison to, say, the home products market, which had 17.5 million active names in the fourth quarter of 2008. But the pet supplies catalog market is a tight niche group of buyers who spend on pets even in a poor economy. The American Pet Products Manufacturing Association estimates that consumers will spend $45.4 billion on their pets in 2009 — up $2.2 billion from 2008 — with $27.6 billion spent on food, supplies and over-the-counter medications.

Doctors Foster and Smith dominates the active names list. Between catalog-buyer file and the core Doctors Foster and Smith lists, the company has 1,439,494 active names. Online pet retailer PetFoodDirect made its list available for the first time last year, and makes up for the loss of lists that were removed from the market in the past year.

The findings do not include multichannel retailers PetSmart or PetCo, whose lists are not on the market.