As published on Business Insider April 26, 2020

US retail sales have been hard hit during the coronavirus pandemic, with an 8.7% drop in retail sales from February to March, but some unusual items are selling better than expected.

As the pandemic persists, consumer habits are shifting and analysts predict gloomy outcomes for the retail industry even after shelter-in-place orders subside, noting that holiday sales could plummet as much as 30%. Gas stations, clothing stores, and restaurants, among others, continue to be severely impacted as shoppers stay inside except for essential needs.

But not every consumer goods category is losing out during the pandemic.

Revenue that once came from brick-and-mortar stores has now largely been rerouted to online shopping. And while items you’d assume to be in high demand, such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer, have indeed become hot commodities — they’re not the only products that have seen a spike in sales.

Pet supplies: Food, toys, and treats

During the pandemic, some pet owners are spending more on their furry friends. The transaction volume of pet supplies increased 711% the week of April 19 compared to the same week last year, according to data from Kount. And according to Criteo, cat food sales grew 401%, dog toys 167%, and small animal supplies 175% in mid-March compared with the sales averages during the first four weeks of the year.
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