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Home > General > 5 Largest Online Pet Retailers in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

5 Largest Online Pet Retailers in 2024: Reviews & Top Picks

Woman Buying Products Online with dog

Americans love their pets, spending close to $136.8 billion on them in 2022. Of course, dogs are the most popular, with 69.1 million households welcoming them into their homes. Not surprisingly, people spend 35% more on their canine companions. Nevertheless, dogs and cats make up the bulk of expenditures. The humanization of the industry has driven the market, with individuals viewing their pets as children.

Online pet retailers have benefited from this paradigm shift. Pet owners are demanding better products, improved quality control, and higher nutritional value. More people see themselves as parents with fur babies than ever before. Because of this, the top online pet retailers hold few surprises.

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The 5 Largest Online Pet Retailers

1. Chewy.com

Year Founded: 2011
Estimated Annual Revenue: $10.099 billion in 2023
Type: Public
Headquarters: Dania Beach, FL

Chewy.com puts the customer and their pets first, which has resonated with people. Its mission is “to be the most trusted and convenient destination for pet parents (and partners), everywhere.” The words are carefully chosen since they touch on two things people want from their online purchases: trust and convenience.

The company’s website helps the business succeed with impressive analytics as a result. It boasts a rank of 195th among US website traffic with only a 43.08% bounce rate and an average visit duration of 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Bear in mind that an optimal figure is 40% or less, so Chewy is keeping visitors on its site and increasing its conversion rate.

The United States is Chewy’s largest market, with over 97% of sales originating here. Canada comes in a very distant second at 1.09%. The company caters to a full range of pets, from dogs to birds to reptiles. It also carries food and related products for birdwatchers to feed their feathered friends. This helps the company reach a broader consumer base, which is reflected in its annual revenue.


2. PetSmart.com

petsmart logo

Year Founded: 1986
Estimated Annual Revenue: $5–$10 billion
Type: Private
Headquarters: Phoenix, AZ

According to IBISWorld, PetSmart.com is the second largest player in the online pet retailer market. While it is a private company, it is also a subsidiary of BC Partners LLP. It differs from Chewy with its brick-and-mortar presence. It has 1,650 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. PetSmart has also diversified with various services, including grooming and training.

Animal welfare is a hallmark of the company. Offering pet adoption opportunities allowed it to transition seamlessly from live pet sales to facilitating over 9.5 million adoptions. The CEOs of PetSmart made several vital changes in the industry. They made the shopping experience more pleasant and emphasized employee education to build trust. It ranks third in traffic, with an average of 15.8 million monthly visits.

It’s worth noting that Chewy was once an independent subsidiary of PetSmart. However, the latter’s physical presence made the segue into e-commerce easy with its name recognition, particularly with the pandemic. However, a 2016 pet abuse scandal involving rodents and subsequent accusations continue to negatively impact its brick-and-mortar revenue.


3. Petco.com

Petco

Year Founded: 1965
Estimated Annual Revenue: $6.15 billion
Type: Public
Headquarters: San Diego, CA

Petco.com is the oldest business on our round-up, having started as a mail-order company in 1965. It didn’t make the transition to retail until 1980. Like others on our list, Petco.com has rebranded itself several times during its history in response to trends and changing attitudes of pet owners. For example, it added live animals to its offerings in 1988. By 1994, it was the largest pet retailer.

The 1990s saw diversification in the company’s line that included services such as grooming, vet services, and dog training. It also brought its commitment to animal welfare to the forefront with the founding of Petco Love. Petco has also embraced in-store pet adoptions to support this cause. It began its online operations in 2001.

Petco ranks second in its online presence after Chewy. It has an average bounce rate and page view count on its site. However, Chewy far outranks them. Remember that a significant portion of Petco’s revenue is from its physical presence. However, the company stands out with at least one store in all 50 states.


4. PetMeds (1800PetMeds.com)

Petmeds Logo

Year Founded: 1996
Estimated Annual Revenue: $273.4 million
Type: Public
Headquarters: Delray Beach, FL

PetMeds differs from other organizations on our list because it started as an online pharmacy. As long as you have a valid prescription from your vet, you can fill your pet’s meds on the site. Interestingly, its founder Marc Puleo was already using this business model for human medications while also selling pet supplies.

The transition to pet prescription and non-prescription meds was natural. Veterinary clinics are usually small practices that can’t offer the discounts that an online retailer serving all 50 states can. PetMeds filled a niche. Unfortunately, its early days were rocky, with repeated scuffles with the FDA, EPA, and even its shareholders. The company has since been on the straight and narrow.

PetMeds specializes in dogs, cats, and horses. It offers supplies, including food, treats, and cat furniture. Many of its products are health oriented. It doesn’t have nearly the website traffic that the previous companies enjoy. Its monthly traffic is an average of 26,300 visits with a 73.56% bounce rate. It has seen an uptick in recent months, perhaps a result of increasing prices and supply chain issues.


5. PetSuppliesPlus.com

Pet Supplies Logo

Year Founded: 1988
Estimated Annual Revenue: $500 million to $1.0 billion
Type: Private
Headquarters: Livonia, MI

Pet Supplies Plus is appropriately named since it is a website catering to birds, fish, reptiles, and small animals. At one time, it was the third largest retailer and the 2016 Pet Retailer of the Year by Pet Business. Today, it has more than 600 stores. The company continues to expand, a reflection of the projected growth in this industry despite, or maybe because of, the pandemic.

The website of Pet Supplies Plus receives an average of 1.7 million monthly visits. It has a respectful bounce rate and page view count. That’s not surprising, given the layout of the site. Users are greeted by several offers and discounts on its home page. It even offers a quiz to earn rewards. Like many online retailers, Pet Supplies Plus offers auto-ship and will also fill pet prescriptions.

Its business model combines a totally online site like Chewy with the additional services at its physical locations. It also has local deals, being a franchise-based company. Unlike many pet retailers, Pet Supplies Plus has managed to avoid the scandals and bad press that others in its industry have endured.


Factors Affecting the Market

Several factors have influenced the online pet industry. E-commerce sites realized a 31.7% increase in digital sales in 2020. Lockdowns kept people indoors and online to purchase supplies and groceries. Perhaps spending more time with their pets also influenced owners to take better care of their animal companions.

Of course, the humanization aspect is a significant player. Pet owners want the best for their fur babies and are willing to spend the extra money on them. None of these things have escaped the notice of the pet industry. Not surprisingly, generational differences are also apparent, with millennials being the most willing to open their wallets.

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Conclusion

The pet industry continues to evolve, benefiting consumers, business owners, and of course, the animals. The online segment is poised for continued growth with the lessons we have learned because of the pandemic. Perhaps the most significant takeaway is the convenience that e-commerce offers. As with other online retailers, its revenue share will likely maintain its surge.

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Featured Image Credit: Andrey Popov, Shutterstock

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