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    Luxury Pet Products Gaining With Consumers, at Supermarkets' Expense: Study

    NEW YORK -- Now it's not just people who are using premium shampoos, therapeutic skin care, and products featuring botanical ingredients. According to "Market Trends: Pet Grooming and Spa Products," a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, consumers are increasingly treating their pets to similar items, but they're not going to supermarkets to purchase them.

    NEW YORK -- Now it's not just people who are using premium shampoos, therapeutic skin care, and products featuring botanical ingredients. According to "Market Trends: Pet Grooming and Spa Products," a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, consumers are increasingly treating their pets to similar items, but they're not going to supermarkets to purchase them.

    Pet specialty stores such as Petco and Petsmart are driving this current growth by building out their services and product offerings, the report says, while traditional retailers, among them supermarkets, drug stores, and mass merchandisers, are losing out.

    Not surprisingly, the study indicates that Wal-Mart is proving to be an exception to this general rule. The world's largest retailer's continuing expansion in number of stores; pet product range/department size, including online; and private label is probably keeping its sales growth rates for pet-grooming products higher than the overall market average, according to the report.

    And it's a big market: U.S. retail sales of pet-grooming items reached $165 million in 2004, reflecting yearly average growth of 5.3 percent since 2000 and relatively steady annual percentage increases.

    "Pet grooming products tie into two of the most important trends driving the overall market for pet products -- the 'humanization' of pets and the related trend of pet pampering," noted Packaged Facts publisher Don Montuori in a statement. "Products that have been 'humanized' to appeal to people -- e.g., shampoos with gentler formulations and pleasing botanical scents, brushes with more comfortable grips, spa/gift-style products, etc. -- are at the forefront of this market.



    Packaged Facts estimates that grooming preparations, including shampoos, conditioners, and wipes, account for more than two-thirds (69 percent) of the market, followed by manual grooming tools at 17 percent, and electric grooming tools -- mostly clippers -- at 14 percent.

    These numbers skew differently at Wal-Mart, according to the study, where as much as 40 percent of pet grooming sales may be coming from tools -- because of the retailer's greater selection of electric grooming devices."

    Not surprisingly, the pet specialty channel is also stronger than average in grooming tools, both manual and electric, placing grooming preparations' share of sales in this sector around 65 percent. Other outlets are above average in their skew toward preparations (around 75 percent), since venues like health/natural stores, non-pet specialty stores, and Internet are heavily into higher-priced premium shampoos and spa/gift-style products.

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