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.
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.
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.