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Internet beats TV for new pet food awareness 2018-2020

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Two previously dominant sources for pet owners’ discovery of new products declined dramatically during the pandemic. The internet seems to have risen in their place. From 2018 to 2020, both television and physical retail outlets declined as means by which pet owners found new pet foods, treats and other products. At Global Pet Expo, Julie Springer, American Pet Products Association (APPA)  market analyst, discussed the APPA survey results that revealed the changing channels for new pet food product discovery.

Pet owners used to browse brick-and-mortar stores more frequently before the pandemic, so it follows that people now tend to find new products in stores less frequently. All age groups in the survey reported declines of at least 10% in new product awareness deriving from browsing in a store. Younger demographics decreased the most. Millennials declined from 55% to 37%, while Generation Z went from 53% to 36%. Boomers and Gen X dropped from 59% to 48% and 57% to 47% respectively.

Television also declined by at least 10% among all age groups, in some cases by as much as in-store. In 2018, 44% of millennial pet owners stated that they had learned of a new pet product from a television ad. That percentage declined to 29% in 2020. Gen Z similarly dropped from 43% to 25%. Millennials declined from 45% to 33%. Baby Boomers went from 47% in 2018 to 37% in 2020.

Internet increases as source of new product awareness

Many of those pet owners may now learn of new products online. All age groups reported internet sources increasing as their channel for new product awareness by at least 12% from 2018 to 2020. Baby Boomers grew from 35% to 48%, while Generation X increase from 48% to 60%. Gen Z went from 58% to 67%. Millennials rose the most, from 59% in 2018 to 74% in 2020.

However, among those internet sources, some become more prominent as sources for new product information, while others fell. Facebook grew among all demographics except Gen Z. Among them, new product awareness from Facebook pages dropped from 42% to 30%. YouTube increased among all age groups, while pet product companies’ own web pages declined among every generation.

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