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Dog Shoes Are the Unexpected Items Seeing a Major Sales Boost During the Pandemic — This Is Why

Amid the coronavirus crisis, tens of millions of pet owners across the United States are spending extra time with their furry friends. And it seems some owners may also be shelling out additional dollars for their pups.

Pet shop Baxter & Bella has experienced a sales increase of about 30% during the pandemic, it told FN, with dog shoe sales in particular seeing an uptick. The heightened demand for dog footwear may be because people want to keep their pets’ feet off the ground to reduce the likelihood of picking up germs or carrying the coronavirus, the store said.

“[Particularly], the increase in dog shoes sales, we figure is due to the fact people want to keep their dogs’ paws clean after a walk. Same thing goes for raincoats and dog carriers,” a Baxter & Bella representative told FN.

Similarly, Amy Harlow, owner of Wagwear, says she has “definitely seek an uptick” in sales of her WagWellies dog rain boots.

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“It’s also rainy season, but I do suspect there’s some aspect of protection as well. If you’re going to go out wearing gloves and a mask, wearing boots and a raincoat — being protected — it makes sense that you’d want your dog to be protected as well,” Harlow explained.

Harlow added that e-commerce sales “have never been better” during the coronavirus crisis, and that she’s seen some new customer acquisition. Although Wagwear also has two brick-and-mortar locations that are temporarily shut, Harlow sees the online growth as a “silver lining.”

“[E-commerce sales] have definitely increased, and that’s exciting,” she said. “That’s something we can focus on and that’s a growth area, one that we didn’t have before.”

Prior to the pandemic, the American Pet Products Association estimated that the U.S. pet industry would be worth $99 billion in 2020, up from $95.7 billion in 2019. The APPA estimates that 67% of American households (84.9 million homes) own a pet, with vet visits and food representing the primary costs associated with pet ownership.

While the pet market — particularly with respect to dog footwear — appears to be showing signs of growth, shoes for people have been selling more slowly amid the pandemic. According to The NPD Group, total fashion footwear sales dropped by 24% from the period of January to March 2020 compared with the same time a year prior. The performance shoe category fell by 19%, while leisure footwear dropped by 15%. For the whole of 2020, footwear sales are forecast by World Footwear to fall by 22.5%, which equates to 5.1 billion fewer pairs purchased.

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