Small Pet Litter & Litter Trends | Current problem

Sales of small mammal products are increasing as a wide variety of customers seek out new pets and the various supplies needed to keep their furry companions happy and healthy, pet retailers and pet makers report. products.

“The pandemic has been an undeniable catalyst for the segment growth that we have witnessed over the past two years,” said Lucas Stock, communications manager at Oxbow Animal Health, a manufacturer in Omaha, Neb. “As the majority of adults and families have found themselves at home, many have made the decision to welcome a pet into their lives. With Gen Z contributing significantly to recent growth, it is clear that small pets ideal for this generation’s lifestyles.As more and more consumers welcome rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats and other small animals into their homes, essential care, including bedding and bedding, develop in direct correlation.

Some retailers are reporting that there are no signs of a slowdown in sales.

“We are definitely seeing sales increase,” said Linda Weckesser, owner of Critters Pet Shop in Necedah, Wis. “The small animal segment continues to grow. We have not seen a post-COVID decline. Sales remain strong so far.

The customer base has expanded during the pandemic as young adults and older consumers have purchased small pets.

“I’ve definitely seen more young adults buying smaller pets,” said Jasmine Schenewerk, director of Midway Tropical Fish & Pets, a retailer in Kent, Washington. “Customers are always buying small animals for their children, but they’re also buying these pets for themselves. I’ve seen people in their late 20s come in for small animals, in particular.

While children are still the biggest source of demand for small pets, the segment is attracting a wider range of people, said Marge Seidewand, co-owner of Pet World, a retailer in Rochester, NY, with her husband Jim .

“It’s interesting because we’re even seeing older retirees looking for a pet that’s a little smaller than a dog or a cat, and they know their grandkids are going to love it too,” said Marge Seidewand. “It’s a combination of young and old as well as teenagers and 20-somethings buying small animals.”

Basic products, such as bedding and litter, continue to perform well due to increased ownership of small animals. Products made from recycled paper materials are in particular demand, retailers reported.

“Customers are always looking for that bale of compressed, recycled paper,” said Jim and Marge Seidewand. “CareFresh and Clean and Cozy by Kaytee are the two main brands.”

Shredded aspen is another popular option that is very popular with customers.

“We sell shredded aspen,” said Andrew Potts, owner of Herp Hobby Shop Reptile Breeding.

Center in Oldsmar, Florida. “We sell a lot of these products, which have cross-appeal to small mammals, hedgehogs, short-tailed opossums and, of course, rodents, hamsters and gerbils.”

The benefits of aspen have spread to the market, retailers reported.

“Aspen has really grown in popularity,” said Jim and Marge Seidewand. “We love aspen bedding and shredded aspen. It’s definitely not as dusty, it’s cleaner, and for some animals we’ve more than tripled the business. We went to alternative products as best we could find them.

Independent retailers have come to rely on an assortment of brands in the segment, and many have had to expand their range to meet customer demand when availability issues plagued various manufacturers.

“We tried almost every brand available,” said Jim Seidewand. “We have mainly expanded to other available brands, some of which are good partners for us. We have given and will likely continue to give some of this business aggressively to brands that have tried to supply us.

Favorite products

Manufacturers and suppliers have continuously worked to meet consumer needs through the introduction of new products.

“We’ve seen continued growth among pet parents who are passionate about providing the happiest, healthiest lives for their furry family members,” Stock said. “We believe in providing a variety of bedding options to meet the preferences of as many pet owners as possible.”

Oxbow introduces its new Enriched Life Washable Floor Mats, Stock Added. These soft fleece rugs are available in several sizes and can be used inside or outside the habitat. Mats are machine washable and feature non-slip flooring and a multi-layered design to keep pets dry, Stock added.

Several bedding products are selling well at retail, with some retailers reporting that recycled paper bedding is selling the best, while others are finding aspen or other alternatives are growing in demand.

“Customers are primarily looking for an easy-to-use litter box and litter box with added scent,” Weckesser said.

Offering a variety of options can help boost sales, industry insiders have reported.

“Most independent pet retailers are familiar with litter and bedding products, but may not be aware of all the options on the market,” Stock said. “Similarly, we encourage retailers to seize opportunities to take the time to engage with younger generations of consumers who may be more likely to invest time and energy in finding options that best support their For example, we encourage pet parents to use both litter and paper-based litter to create a premium substrate for their pets.

Availability issues

Retailers often rely on basic supplies like bedding and bedding to keep customers coming through their doors, insiders report.

“Litter and bedding are essential as recurring selling items, just as much as food is,” Schenewerk said.

However, although manufacturers, distributors and retailers have worked together to ensure products are available despite shipping issues and availability issues, the industry still has to contend with stock-outs.

“Supply issues are still unresolved,” said Tom Herron, owner of Fins, Feathers, Paws & Claws, a retailer in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. “There are still a lot of zeros on the bill, and [distributors and manufacturers] all blame COVID and stuff sitting in the port, waiting to be shipped.

Some retailers have focused on substituting popular products, which have generally been well received by customers.

“What I do, people agree,” Weckesser said. “My clients have had no problem switching providers. They prefer other things, but I wear a lot of different kinds, and they buy them. I didn’t have to do too many replacements. If a place doesn’t have something, I go to the next place. I wear Kaytee, Oxbow and Easy Clean.

Health Conscious Consumers

Much like dog and cat owners, small animal owners are humanizing their pets more than ever and becoming more discerning about the brands and products they buy for their animal companions, report insiders. ‘industry.

“People are more concerned about the health of their little animal, overall,” said Tom Herron, owner of Fins, Feathers, Paws & Claws, a retailer in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. “There’s also a lot more attention being paid to enrichment with small animals. Oxbow has been very important in pushing this. The whole enrichment story started in zoos, and it’s spreading across the world. pet industry, and not just in the small animal category, customers are much more aware of enrichment than ever before.

Customers identify closely with their pets and as a result many choose to purchase larger enclosures, which usually means they purchase more bedding.

“Customers are definitely humanizing their pets, even lizards and reptiles,” said Linda Weckesser, owner of Critters Pet Shop in Necedah, Wis. “This trend is general. We recommend getting a pen that will be a cage for life. Otherwise, they will come back and buy a bigger one later. Customers usually go for the bigger one.

Natural bedding and bedding products are also in demand, in part out of concern for pet health.

“People tend to look for more natural bedding options,” said Jasmine Schenewerk, manager at Midway Tropical Fish & Pets, a retailer in Kent, Washington. “A lot of customers are more health conscious because they don’t want their pets to have respiratory problems. Customers just want to spend to get the best quality. People are also going for bigger cases…I tell my customers, generally, the bigger the case, the better.And that’s what most people are looking for.

In their quest to provide the best for their pets, many consumers are turning to their local pet stores and brand representatives for advice on how to care for their pets and what products to buy, experts said. initiates.

“As more and more Gen Z consumers have become pet parents, for example, there is an increased desire to engage directly with the brands they trust, not just on food. basics like food and hay, but to engage with experts regarding all aspects of the daily health and happiness of their pets,” said Lucas Stock, communications manager at Oxbow Animal Health, a manufacturer in Omaha, Neb. “This includes areas such as hygiene and home comfort. For these consumers, choosing the best bedding and bedding option for their pets is an important decision, and they are willing to invest the time and energy to learn more and evaluate before deciding what is best.While the ideal solution varies from individual to individual, consumers are generally looking for products that are safe and so efficient while keeping their companions clean and comfortable.

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