Special Feature: Year In Review

Year In Review: Pet Toys

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December 16, 2020
by Shastri Mahadeo
2 Minutes

The following insights are powered by Nielsen in partnership with Unioncrate, an artificial intelligence demand planning platform that combines consumer behavior and historical shipment data to predict sales and inventory with up to 91.6% SKU-level accuracy.


Welcome to Day 16 of Unioncrate’s Year In Review, focusing on the pet toy category’s 15.3% growth this year.

Pet Toys

  • Stay-at-home orders had everyone looking for new forms of entertainment, and what better way to pass the time than finding new games to play with your four-legged best friend? In the 40-week period since March, pet toy sales increased 18% compared to the same period last year. 
  • Back in March when the chaos of stockpile shopping was gearing up, the pet toys category stayed business as usual: the 4-week period ended 3/21 saw a normal 1.3% growth.
  • Since then the category has remained mostly in the double-digits, with numbers as high as 40% in a single 4-week period.

Playful Highlights

  • BARK Box, an online pet toy subscription service, partnered with brewing company Anheuser-Busch to create “The 7-Pack,” a 6-pack of beers plus a seventh bottle-shaped chew toy that finally lets your dog partake in your after-work chill time.
  • An Ohio humane society is offering pet stockings filled with your pet’s favorite treats and toys in exchange for a donation that will go towards helping adoptable animals find homes for the holidays. 
  • Pet toy manufacturer P.L.A.Y. gave some insight into 2020’s toy trends, noting that interactive puzzle toys and toys that are “camera-ready” have been particularly popular this year (because who doesn’t love a cute pup pic for Instagram?). 
  • Dunkin’ teamed up with pet toy brand BARK to create two limited edition Dunkin'-themed dog toys, available as gifts to customers who donate to the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation, committed to helping kids who are battling hunger or illness.

Up Next: Shampoo

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