New • COVID-19 Report

Chewy Maintains Its Pandemic Advantage Over Competitors

Monday, June 7, 2021 • 11:30 AM EST

Key Takeaways:

1. Consumer behavioral shifts in the pandemic gave Chewy an advantage over brick-and-mortar competitors, according to Cardify data
2. Data shows average basket size at Chewy ($65) dwarfs that of competitors Petco ($43) and PetSmart ($45)
3. While Chewy’s market share has grown over the last 12 months, PetSmart has seen its market share decline
4. Cardify surveyed more than 1,100 pet products consumers, and found that the 28% that had not shopped at Chewy said they declined to buy products there due to high prices

Chewy, an ecommerce provider for pets, is set to announce its Q1 2021 earnings on June 10th, 2021. To better understand Chewy’s business and how it stacks up against major competitors Petco and PetSmart, Cardify analyzed first-party transactional data comparing revenue trends, market share, average basket size, and purchase frequency. Cardify also surveyed more than 1,100 shoppers to understand their sentiments toward the three major brands. 

Chewy’s revenue growth has significantly outpaced both Petco and PetSmart, though all three brands gained revenue throughout the pandemic and into 2021.

Along with revenue growth, Chewy grew its market share significantly, increasing from 33.5% market share in Q1 2019 to 42.4% in Q1 2021. This growth seems to be exclusively at PetSmart’s expense, as Petco roughly maintained its market share but PetSmart dropped from 41.4% in Q1 2019 to 33.0% in Q1 2021.

Chewy also leads the pack by a wide margin in average basket size. From 2019 to 2021, Petco and PetSmart hovered around $35 to $40 in average basket size. Over the same period, Chewy’s average basket size grew from around $55 to nearly $65.

Comparing average shopping frequency, Petco and PetSmart are more in line with Chewy. While Chewy saw a spike in spring 2020 as the pandemic closed retail stores, all three retailers hovered around an average frequency of 1.4 to 1.6 purchases per month, per customer.

To better understand consumer perspectives on the three brands, Cardify surveyed more than 1,100 customers to understand their satisfaction ratings and post-pandemic pet shopping plans. From a satisfaction and loyalty perspective, Chewy is the clear winner. The brand has a 45.7 Net Promoter Score (NPS), while Petco has a 1.6 NPS and PetSmart has a 7.5 NPS.

Of consumers who do not shop at Chewy, 41.0% said they simply haven’t tried yet. More than a quarter (27.8%) said it was too expensive, and 16.9% said they prefer in-store shopping.

When it comes to post-pandemic plans, the short answer is more of the same. The people who like shopping online report they will shop online more frequently, while the people who prefer in-store shopping report they will shop in-store more frequently.

Reopening trends highlight disparities in top brands’ recovery

Pets hold a dear place in people’s hearts, with some people treating their pets like surrogate children - and decking them out with all the accessories a pet could possibly want. Chewy capitalized on that trend, along with the growth of ecommerce, to build significant brand loyalty and encourage significantly larger purchases compared to other traditional pet retailers. And it seems that post-pandemic, Chewy could do even better as people who spend online plan to double down, buying even more online than they did before.