The world’s biggest retailer, Walmart, is all set to open its first online pet pharmacy along with the opening of dozens more veterinary clinics in its stores, as it hopes to tap on the growing pet market and lure more U.S. pet owners who are spending billions of dollars each year on their dogs and cats.
Walmart is expected to open more than 80 veterinary clinics in its stores on top of its already existing 21 clinics across six states. In these stores, pets can receive vaccines, care for minor illnesses and other routine exams.
Additionally, Walmart would offer low-cost prescriptions through its online pharmacy called WalmartPetRX.com for pets to rival the top pet e-commerce business Chewy.com.
Analysts have figured a rough 60% rise in the number of pet related items sold on its website last year. Research reveals that a record $72.5 billion was spent on pets in the U.S. last year and it is estimated that this figure will exceed $75.3 billion this year, compared with $60 billion spent on pets just four years ago.
Key expense figures of 2018 by per parents according to APPA include: $30.32 billion on food, $18.11 billion on vet care, $16.01 billion on supplies and over-the-counter medicines; $2.01 billion on purchasing the pets themselves; and $6.11 billion on ‘other services’.
In accordance with these figures, in 2019 estimates say that food spending will climb to $31.68 billion, with spending on vet care reaching $18.98 billion; spending on supplies and medicines will amount to $16.44 billion; spending on animal purchases will equate $1.97 billion; and ‘other services’ will cost $6.31 billion.
The data indicates that pet parents are taking better care of their pets, especially in terms of what they are feeding to them. Sales of fresh pet food in the U.S. rose as high as 70%, to more than $546 million, between 2015 and 2018, according to a certain research. So, Walmart is now focusing on more health conscious brands and premium food options to tap the billion dollar pet market.
Besides rival Chewy,com, other competitors in the market include Amazon’s (AMZN) ‘Wag’, Target’s (TGT) partnership with BarkBox, and Petco’s partnership with ‘JustFoodForDogs’.