• Market Crumbs

Walmart Launches Walmart Pet Care

Image via Eric Ward on Unsplash

Americans love their pets. The percentage of U.S. households that own a pet has grown from 56% in 1988 to 67% in 2019, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey.

U.S. sales of pet products and services hit a record $95.7 billion last year as it's estimated sales will grow to $99 billion this year, according to the APPA.

Pet Food & Treats accounted for $37.9 billion, or nearly 40%, of last year's total sales and is expected to grow by another 4% this year. Vet Care & Product Sales accounted for another $29.3 billion of the total as the APPA called it a "significant jump from previously reported spending figures."

With Americans increasingly bringing pets into their homes, Walmart announced yesterday a bigger push into the pet industry with the launch of Walmart Pet Care. Walmart Pet Care is a full-service pet care offering giving customers the ability to shop for additional services such as pet insurance and pet care services like dog-walking and pet sitting.

Walmart is teaming up with pet insurance provider Petplan to offer comprehensive pet insurance that can be used at any licensed veterinarian in the U.S. and Canada. Walmart is offering new customers $1,000 worth of online virtual vet appointments at no additional charge. Walmart Pet Care also offers Walmart PetRx, which is Walmart's in-store and online pharmacy service for pets.

"We're on a mission to help families live better – and that goes for pets, too," Walmart Pets vice president of merchandising Melody Richard said. "Especially as adoption rates soar as a result of the pandemic, and more people become pet owners, this was the perfect time to launch expanded services in Walmart Pet Care for our customers."

As part of Walmart Pet Care, Walmart is also teaming up with Rover to offer pet sitting and dog walking services. Walmart is trying to attract users to sign up through Rover by offering a $20 Walmart gift card for their first service and another $20 gift card if they complete five services in six months.

"As the most shopped omnichannel retailer for pet products, our new pet care services and support offer our customers trusted, convenient services that provide the exceptional care their pets deserve," Richard said.

With the pandemic leading many people to take in pets, Walmart is undoubtedly going after Chewy, which has been one of the largest beneficiaries in the pet products and services sector. The ProShares Pet Care ETF, which is an ETF that "allows investors to capitalize on people's passion for their pets," is up more than 100% from its March low and just below all-time highs.

While the pandemic has fueled interest in adopting pets, pet ownership has been increasing steadily for decades and Walmart's latest move should turn out to be a good move in the long term.

Leftover Crumbs

  • Amazon files lawsuit against influencers. Amazon has filed a lawsuit against two social media influencers and 11 other businesses for violating Amazon's policies and the law by advertising, promoting and facilitating the sale of counterfeit goods in Amazon's store. The pair promoted counterfeit products on Instagram, TikTok and their own websites and then posted them on Amazon for sale. "These defendants were brazen about promoting counterfeits on social media and undermined the work of legitimate influencers," said Cristina Posa, Associate General Counsel and Director, Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit.

  • Jobless claims hit new low. Initial jobless claims dropped to 709,000 last week after posting 757,000 the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The total marks the fourth-consecutive weekly decline and lowest since the pandemic began. However, more than 21 million Americans are still collecting benefits and last week's total is still above the 695,000 set in 1982, which was the previous record high before the pandemic.

  • Microsoft issues unusual warning. As customers begin to receive their latest Xbox consoles, users on the internet have been making videos showing as if the system is overheating and releasing smoke. However, they are actually blowing vape smoke into the console to make it look like the Xbox is on fire. "We can't believe we have to say this, but please do not blow vape smoke into your Xbox Series X," Microsoft tweeted.

  • Instagram gets a facelift. Instagram is rolling out its first changes to its homepage in years with the introduction of the Reels tab and a Shop tab. Reels is the TikTok clone that lets users share short videos while the Shop tab is Instagram's latest push into e-commerce. "We don’t take these changes lightly – we haven't updated Instagram's home screen in a big way for quite a while," Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri wrote. "But how people create and enjoy culture has changed, and the biggest risk to Instagram is not that we change too fast, but that we don't change and become irrelevant."

  • PayPal crypto trading goes live. PayPal announced yesterday that all eligible users in the U.S. can now buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency directly through PayPal. PayPal announced the service last month with plans to enable cryptocurrency as a funding source for purchases at more than 25 million PayPal merchants worldwide. "The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly," PayPal president and CEO Dan Schulman said.