Consumer behavior of pet owners in Italy - statistics & facts

Dogs and cats are the most popular pets in Italian households. However, small rodents, fish, birds, and turtles are quite common as well. Birds are, indeed, the most widespread pets after dogs and cats. Despite the large number of pets in animal shelters, purchasing pets still represents one of the main ways of acquiring a domestic animal in Italy. According to a recent survey, the most common channels to buy a pet is purchasing it from a private person or from a breeding farm, while some 21 percent of respondents went to a pet shop. Over the past years, the purchase of pets in pet shops decreased, while private individuals and breeding farms became a more popular option. When it comes to adoption, the majority of owners took home a pet found on the street.

Pet owners follow different criteria when choosing food and other items for their pets. For instance, when it comes to dog and cat nutrition, a survey shows that cat owners tend to give their pets mainly pet food, whereas dogs more often receive a mix of pet food and a home diet. This could be one explanation of why sales figures for cat food are much higher, even if both pet populations are around seven million, respectively. Furthermore, a survey from 2020 interviewed Italian veterinaries asking about the criteria their clients use when choosing their pets' nutrition method. As much as 94 percent of pet owners asked for veterinary advice for information on nutrition. In addition, the results indicate that advertisements also significantly influenced consumers.

Even if online sales hold a small share of the total market value, pet food e-commerce registered a large increase between 2018 and 2019. Cat food accounts for the largest value, with about 55 percent of the food purchased online. A survey conducted in Italy in 2020 investigated the reasons why Italian digital consumers prefer to buy online. The main reasons indicated by respondents are the affordable price, followed by time saving. The wider choice and the fatigue saved by not carrying heavy packages were pointed out by quite a few interviewees, but did not play the main role. A breakdown by age reveals that those aged 55 years and older were the least keen to purchase online.

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Consumer behavior of pet owners in Italy

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