TORONTO, CANADA — Pet owners in Canada are increasingly choosing e-commerce options to purchase their dog food in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study conducted by Kabo, a direct-to-consumer fresh dog food company operating in Canada.

While e-commerce was already on a rapid growth path before the pandemic, shifting marketplace dynamics continue to drive online pet food and product sales in Canada and the United States. Market research firm Packaged Facts projects e-commerce sales of pet products will account for 27% of all pet industry sales by the end of this year.

The Kabo study indicates Millennial and Baby Boomer dog owners are turning to e-commerce for both safety and convenience.

Kabo referenced a study conducted by TapResearch before the pandemic, which showed 91% of the 2,000 Canadian dog owners surveyed preferred purchasing pet food through traditional retail channels, including neighborhood pet stores and veterinary clinics.

Now, Kabo reports a 55% increase in the number of dog-owning Baby Boomers choosing e-commerce or direct-to-consumer options, as well as 88% of Millennial dog owners.

“Both Baby Boomers and Millennials are clearly interested in buying pet food online,” said Andrea Gieger, research and development scientist and nutritionist for Kabo. “The 33% difference suggests that online pet food retailers can do a better job guiding and supporting non-digital native generations to a better, safer, and more convenient shopping experience.”

57% of Millennial dog owners surveyed primarily cited safety concerns for their e-commerce decisions, while a majority of Baby Boomers cited both safety concerns and convenience.

Further, the survey indicated 100% of dog owners residing in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are choosing to purchase pet food online for convenience, while 69% of dog owners in British Columbia base their e-commerce pet food purchasing on safety. On the other hand, 63% of Canadian dog owners living in Newfoundland or Labrador — more rural regions of the country — said they continue to shop for pet food at grocery stores.

Keep up with the latest pet food trends on our Trends page.