To bring in more of the consumers who pay billions of dollars a year on their pets, Walmart is rolling out an online pet pharmacy and opening additional veterinary clinics. The retailer plans to bring its number of clinics to 100 from the current 21 in operation, CNBC reported.
Walmart will kick off the expansion with new clinics in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Pets can get care for minor illnesses along with vaccines and routine exams. In addition, Walmart will roll out a WalmartPetRX.com eCommerce pet pharmacy with prescriptions for cats, dogs, horses and livestock. Chewy.com already has an online pharmacy business.
The report noted that the number of cat and dog healthcare products on Walmart’s website has risen by approximately 60 percent during the past year. Amazon also has its Wag pet food brand, and Target has teamed with BarkBox to offer chew toys and treats online and in-store.
In a paper on pet trends last year, Nielsen noted, “The humanization of pets has played well for brands and retailers that have developed or pivoted their strategies for consumers looking to treat their furry friends to the best that life has to offer." At the same time, it was reported that pet owners are willing to pay to give their pets the best possible lives.
According to one estimate, the average pet owner spends a little more than $2,000 a year for care of their animals, and Americans reportedly spent approximately $69.5 billion on pet care collectively in 2017. And the figure has been on the incline since the mid-1990s by at least $2 billion each year. Americans spent $66.75 billion per year on their pets in 2016, compared to $41.2 billion as of 2007. Pet owners are also purchasing products and services such as subscription boxes, spa visits and artisanal toys.