The increased pet population, humanisation of pets and the premiumisation of pet food and accessories continue to fuel growth for leading European online retailer zooplus.
In the first quarter of 2021, the company increased its total sales by 16% to €509m (£438m).
Topline growth was mainly driven by increased spend from its growing loyal repeat customer base, combined with ‘a healthy’ new customer business. The number of active repeat customers grew by 15% year on year.
CEO Dr Cornelius Patt said: “zooplus’s performance in the first quarter of financial year 2021 once again confirms the strong growth trajectory of our business. Fueled by the trends in our category, such as increasing pet population, premiumisation and humanization of pets, we are ideally positioned as the No.1 player in our vertical to continue to add loyal customers to our ecosystem.
“Our customer centricity ensures that we satisfy our loyal customers’ needs while being highly attractive for new customers. As a result, we grow our customer base, we increase the spend per account and we develop the margin structure of our sales. This is the perfect foundation for strong, profitable growth in the future.”
Strong gross margins and operating leverage generated an EBITDA of €4.5m (Q1 2020: €8.1m), resulting in an EBITDA margin of 4.8% (Q1 2020 1.8%). The gross margin of 30.7% benefited from increased premiumisation, more high-margin sales and fewer promotional activities in the reporting period.
zooplus’s strategy to focus on customer loyalty and recurring revenues has maintained momentum in the first quarter of 2021. The success in customer retention is also reflected in the growing significance of its flagship ‘Subscribe & Save’ loyalty tool, with sales growing by 32%, accounting for 54% of active repeat sales.
With sales of €32 per account, the loyalty programme generated 83% higher sales per account compared with customers who were not on the ‘Subscribe & Save’. zooplus also continued to succeed in up- and cross-selling high-margin products in the first quarter of 2021. As a result, the own brands business grew by 34% (Q1 2020: 32%), thereby accounting for 17.4% of total sales (Q1 2020: 15.1%).
The share of orders with at least one own brand product increased year on year, underscoring the growing popularity of zooplus’ own brands with pet owners across Europe.
Pet ownership has been on the rise for the past decade, with covid-19 and lockdowns boosting pet ownership in 2020 across Europe. The European pet supplies market is thus estimated to grow at a CAGR of approximately 6% through 2030 to €49bn. In Europe, the online share is expected to go up to a level of €18.6bn (market share of 38%) by 2030.
As Europe’s leading online pet platform in the category, zooplus expects to reach a total market share of 9-10% by 2025 and 11-13% by 2030.
Backed by these strong growth figures and ‘market tailwinds’, zooplus expects sales for the full financial year of between €2.04bn-€2.14bn and an EBITDA in the range of between €40m-€80m.