As Halloween approaches, zulily is offering Millennial pet owners a critical component for their celebrations: pet costumes. The retailer saw revenue from pet costumes jump 53.27% in 2017 from 2016, while overall pet sales saw 33% growth in 2017.
The pet segment is a perfect fit for retailers that appeal to younger shoppers: approximately 35% of pets are owned by Millennials, according to a report by zulily. Additionally, 92% of Millennial pet owners purchase gifts for their pets, such as toys, clothing and treats, with 51% purchasing a gift for their pet at least once a month. On average, Millennials who buy their pets gifts on a monthly basis do so four times a month.
“In the last year and a half, we’ve really taken a very concerted effort and focus on the pet category,” said Kerry Gibson-Morris, VP of Merchandising at zulily, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “A lot of it has to do with this young emerging customer that zulily is able to engage every day. We want to be where our customer is, and she is telling us that pets are part of her life, whether it’s taking care of them, having fun with them or having them be part of all the seasons year-round.”
The e-Commerce retailer has found success through a mixed selection of pet products. While zulily offers traditional dog beds and cat trees, it also has an assortment of quirkier offerings that includes pet apparel, rain jackets, hats and costumes.
Selling dress-up options for both people and their pets is a boon during the Halloween season, as 28% of Millennials are stressed out by the need to create a unique costume for themselves and their pets. The retailer harnesses personalization to curate matching costume ideas, easing some of the anxiety pet parents feel.
“We have a lot of data and algorithms on the backend that understand customers’ search and shopping patterns on our site,” said Gibson-Morris. “If you personally had made a purchase for your cat, whether it’s a bag of catnip or a new scratching tree, when you start to shop for a costume for yourself we are able to serve up some suggestions for your pet.”
Shoppers like to dress their pets in the same licensed costumes that are popular for people, including Star Wars and Harry Potter. More whimsical costumes are also popular, with panda bears, unicorns and pirates among the top-purchased costumes on the web site.
However, pet-based deals don’t end with Halloween: zulily stocks customizable pet stockings and Christmas-themed pet beds as winter approaches. The retailer continues to offer other gifts year-round, including kits to make dog biscuits and pet-friendly cupcakes for birthday celebrations.
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