A significant proportion of pet owners believe their local pet store is knowledgeable and trusted, but price perceptions and the need for convenience are preventing many potential customers from shopping there more frequently, according to a new survey of purchasing habits commissioned by Johnson’s Veterinary Products.
The survey of 1,000 pet owners, conducted online by Censuswide, found that 28% of respondents believed that their local pet store was ‘knowledgeable’ and had opinions that could be ‘trusted’, with 22% believing that the pet store workers cared ‘more about me and my pet than bigger stores’.
However, 22% described independent stores are ‘overpriced’, whilst 13% said that they would rather buy from a supermarket as they could then do all their grocery shopping at the same time. Roughly one in eight (12%) responded that they’d rather shop at a major pet chain as there would be other services offered on-site.
When searching for a remedy for a specific problem, owners aged 25-44 sought remedies online most frequently (44-46%), suggesting that this was the age group most likely to research solutions before committing to purchasing either a service or product. Those living in the North West of England were the most likely to consult their local pet store for a solution (49%), whilst just 23% of respondents in the West Midlands would opt to do the same. Trust (43%), habit (39%), convenience (37%), and accessibility (30%) were the primary drivers behind how all groups chose their preferred course of action.
While 67% of the 16-24 age group said that they would rather support their local pet shop than big stockists, 39% of people in that age group admitted to having never visited a small local outlet. In contrast, a quarter of the 45-50 age group found pet stores to be more genuinely caring than the alternatives, and 59% shop there regularly.
Cost was perhaps understandably the greatest influencer for product selection, named by 50% of respondents, with 39% saying they would be more likely to shop at their local pet store if prices were reduced, and 38% saying they would if special offers were introduced.
Paul Gwynn, managing director of Johnson’s, commented: “We have always been a business that prides itself on producing the products people need, for the pets they love. Making sure these products are not only of the highest quality, but are cost-effective and readily available remains at the core of the Johnson’s ethos.
“We work hard to support the pet trade, recognising the importance of pet shops and pet stores, where advice is on hand for those pet owners who need it. But we need help in understanding the relationship between Johnson’s, our pet shop customers and ultimately pet owners, if we are to continue innovating and manufacturing the products pet owners want to buy.
“This survey, the first of many we hope to produce, has helped us understand the purchasing habits of different groups of pet owner, by their age, region of the UK in which they live and even by the pet or pets they own.”