‘Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen,’ said the Greek philosopher Socrates over 2000 years ago. How has this century’s economic downturn in Greece affected the pet care market?
Less money but just as many dogs
It will come as no surprise to hear that the Greek pet market has faced a downturn too, as consumers with less disposable income have had to buy cheaper products and forgo impulse purchases. The pet care market has declined in value, as the demand for lower-priced products has increased at the expense of premium brands.
Although cat ownership has decreased, dog ownership has only been marginally affected. So dog food has performed better overall, with a decline in value but no decline in volume.
One reason for this was increased discount activity by companies attempting to keep their market share. Price-sensitive consumers have taken advantage of larger packs, promotional discounts and lower category products.
Rise of pet store chains
The Greek pet market is highly fragmented, with a small number of local pet food producers and largely imported pet products. No domestic pet food manufacturer has yet managed to establish a strong brand name or widespread distribution. Most of the domestic players also focus on economy products, whereas premium brands were the main beneficiaries of the rise of pet humanisation in the past few years.
Pet shops and pet superstores still offer the widest ranges of pet care products. They have the competitive advantage of being able to offer specialist advice, particularly valued by Greek pet owners as they slowly reduce their numbers of visits to veterinarians.
Another feature of the recession is a change in the pet market’s distribution channels. There is a rise in the number of pet store chains, with Pet City as market leader. The Greek market was originally dominated by family-owned independent pet shops, so this trend presents a dynamic change in the competitive landscape, similar to that of previous decades in the grocery market.
Looking for deals online
The economic situation has offered a great opportunity to internet pet retailing. Consumers like comparing the prices of sales promotions of a wide range of brands in the comfort of their own home and getting their purchases delivered to their doorstep, often at no cost. Convenience and lower prices, coupled with wider brand availability, are the primary reasons for Greek pet owners to visit e-shops. Internet was reported to be the most dynamic distribution channel in 2018. One word in a browser search can reveal an overwhelming number of e-shops offering deals, many of which do not have a brick-and-mortar store.
The Greek economy is now starting to reinvent itself after many difficult years, and is looking to the future with optimism.