Everyday household products, including cat litter, are expected to cost more as brands are moving to raise prices yet again after a similar move last year, the Walt Street Journal reports.
Prices on the Rise
Church & Dwight Co., the manufacturer of Arm & Hammer cat litter, announced last week that its raising prices for some of its most popular products which according to the company is consistent with what it’s competitors are currently doing.
“The good news_OLD is that competitors are raising [prices] in those categories as we speak,” said for the WSJ Matthew Farrell, Church & Dwight’s CEO.
Farrell further announced that the spike might not be over as his company “is now discussing more price increases with retailers.”
Last year Clorox also raised the prices for half of its products in a sweeping move that also involved its Fresh Step cat litter.
The feline sanitary product is only one among many household staples that have seen recent price spikes. The raises come after companies for decades were cautious about testing the willingness of consumers to pay more for household goods, the Journal reports.
At the same time, big names in the industry are facing stiff competition from subscription services like the Dollar Shave Club and retail giants—Walmart and Amazon, whose trade war has impacted much of the US retail business.
A Growing Field
The market for cat litter is a growing field as more players are joining in the competition for consumer trust with a wide range of products readily available at online and offline retailers.
It is now standard for a cat litter brand to offer at least six different products in its line—all-purpose, dust-free, non-clumping, tracking control, scented, and biodegradable/eco litter. It is the last category that is enjoying a boom in demand.
Consumers, younger generations, in particular, are placing much emphasis on environment-friendly products and corporate social responsibility. In this regard, eco cat litter is far ahead of its traditional clay/silica-based cousin.
For starters, it is common for wood and paper-made cat litter to come from recycled materials such as sawdust from wood mills and recycled paper.
This type of cat litter is also biodegradable so it can be composted or even thrown in the toilet, though local legislation may prohibit it.
There is also anecdotal evidence of clay litter causing respiratory issues among pets and their owners. With bio-litter, fewer particles are flowing in the air which means fewer illnesses and fewer medical bills.
Bio cat litter is also more absorbing, lasts longer, and is several times less dense than clay litter so consumers are getting more bang for their buck.
On the demand side, the market has also expanded with rabbit, rodent, and small dog owners also turning to cat litter for their pets’ natural needs. Nestle’s Purina, one of the global leaders on the pet care market, has already released the SecondNature Dog Litter—paper-based pellets for puppy and adult dogs up to 35 lbs.
The entry barrier to any market is now lower than ever.
Finding stable suppliers and producers for most consumer goods can all happen from a smartphone, while modern practices such as drop-shipping mean that a company doesn’t even need to touch a product to generate sales which has resulted in new dynamics on the retail field.
By maintaining a regularly updated portfolio of quality goods at lower prices than what a big brand can offer startups are now presenting a threat to companies with decades, even century-old traditions.
With the pet litter market already huge, and set to grow even larger, it’s not clear if price jumps are a smart move for pet care companies.
They seem to think so, likely leaning on brand loyalists and enormous marketing budgets.
At the same time, some analysts believe that recent spikes in consumer staples might result in businesses “painting themselves in a corner.”