The Ukrainian pet market has been heavily tested in the last five years. However, these were also the years of unique opportunities for intensive development.
A significant depreciation of the Hryvnia, the Ukrainian currency, has affected not only the cost of pet products, but also the purchasing power of pet owners. While the number of cats in Ukrainian households remained unchanged from 2012 to 2017, the number of dogs decreased by almost 30%. These factors forced Ukrainian pet companies to look for new ways and opportunities for development.
A noticeable decline of sales in the pet industry in 2014-2015 was followed by a rise in 2017-2018. The average growth in 2018 and first half of 2019 showed a 10-15% increase depending on the category, where food and snacks showed the best growth results.
The only category that did not show a positive tendency was aquaristics, which still did not recover in recent years. Not only did end consumers lose interest in this hobby, pet shop owners also do not wish to invest in expensive aquaristic equipment. At the same time, sales of life aquatic fishes in specialised shops did not fall.
Demand for premium and super premium brands should continue to increase, thanks to pet owners’ growing focus on nutrition and pet wellbeing, supporting a healthy growth in sales. Economy class pet food is mainly sold in supermarket chains, convenience stores, and small pet trade points near public transport stops.
Shops or Internet?
Online sales is growing; however, it does not exceed 10% of total value. An additional boost to internet purchasing is created by local trading platforms and marketplaces, which are very professional – not only in pet food. On the one hand, offline benefits from consumers’ habits to touch and feel; at the same time 15+ kg dog food bags are selling significantly online.
All leading supermarket chains sell dog and cat food, as well as cat litter, under their own private labels. Supermarkets are constantly expanding their range of accessories, toys, and delicacies. The share of supermarkets accounts for up to 45% of the total market.
The double-digit growth in 2018, as well as stable growth in the first half of 2019, brings Ukraine back to the attention of the major European manufacturers and brand owners as an area of potential investment.