The Dog Days Aren’t Over

People have dealt with the pandemic in all different ways. Some took up exercise, others needlepoint. But no strategy has been more popular in the pandemic playbook than getting a puppy – an astonishing five million families brought home a new pet in 2020.

And if recent market activity is any indication, there is no end in sight for the four legged-fervor.

Pets For The Win

The “humification of pets” has been a trend for some time. If you’re not familiar with the term – think organic and grass-fed dog treats.

Last Thursday investors got a bite of the action with the IPO of Petco, the 50+ year old pet retailer which returned to the markets after a 15 year hiatus. The retailer, which will trade under the ticker “WOOF,” raised $864 million in its third trip to the public markets:

  • Investors poured into Petco and shares rose 60%+ in the first day of trading.
  • More Bark Than Bite: BarkBox, the monthly dog subscription service, is headed for the public markets after agreeing to yet another SPAC merger with Northern Star Acquisition Corp. The deal values Barkbox at $1.6 billion.

What’s The Scoop? No matter how trying the times, owners are not likely to curtail spending on pets. Pet care was the only major retail category that didn’t take a dip during the Great FInancial Crisis.

According to the American Pet Product Association, Americans will spend a record-high $99 billion this year on all this FIDO – everything from food to veterinary care.

Delivery!

Like other pockets of retail, the online boom was strong in 2020.

  • Chewy, the online pet company owned by Petco’s rival PetSmart, added more than 5 million customers in 2020
  • Premium direct-to-consumer brands like Maev, Ollie and The Farmers’ Dog have seen a surge in popularity.
Takeaway

The pandemic has changed the relationship between humans and dogs, according to a recent study in Nature. If that trend continues, we’re likely to be more reliant on our four-legged friends, even after the pandemic ends.

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