However, while the population of small pets is larger in absolute numbers, cats and dogs are just more commonly found in Italian homes. In 2018, some 27 percent of households owned at least one dog, while about 18 percent had a cat. Therefore, the food market for cats and dogs represents a large industry. The sales value of dog and cat food reached over two billion euros in 2019 and showed a constant increase in recent years. Food for cats was worth more than for dogs. Indeed, cat food sales reached almost 1.1 billion euros, while dog food never reached a value above one billion euros in the past years. In terms of food types, wet food was preferred by both cats and dogs.
Data on the different distribution channels show new growing trends in purchasing habits. Also, Italians prefer buying pet food in traditional stores, which held the largest market value, followed by supermarkets. In 2019, sales in traditional pet shops accounted for roughly 649 million euros, registering an increase in value but not in volume. In 2019, the online sales revenue of pet food in Italy amounted to 13 million euros. This figure refers to the online sales of dog and cat food registered by Amazon and large-scale retailers. Data show that cat food generated most of the online sales revenue. Although online sales only held 0.6 percent of the total market value, this sector registered a large increase between 2018 and 2019.