Visuality's final Shopper's Eye column features one of people's favourite tasks in a supermarket - buying petfood.

There must be many fmcg manufacturers who would love to be in the petfood market, as shoppers are in such a positive mood at the category.

As one woman shopper said: "Sometimes I think that I put more effort into thinking about the animals than about the rest of the family."

There are plenty of opportunities to engage shoppers in the display, thereby encouraging incremental and impulse sales. Some shoppers were interested in the range of treats on offer and always had a quick look around to see if there was anything new.

When shoppers are in this mode, they are receptive to making additional purchases.

Petfood is a frequently shopped category, with nearly three quarters of shoppers buying at least once a week.
Some 95% of shoppers buying from this category had a trolley, suggesting there is a minimum needs-driven shopping trip going on in the larger supermarkets. This suggests a key opportunity for convenience stores to meet shoppers' needs when they inevitably run out of petfood.

An impressive 97% had intended to buy from the display that day, the highest level of intent that Visuality has seen across all the categories it has examined over the past three and a half years.

This is a category dominated by brands and brand loyalty, with 81% buying a branded product and 82% of these saying they always bought the same brand. However, four in 10 shoppers said they did consider other brands. This is indicative of the shoppers' level of interest and the thought process taking place at the display, but shows a reluctance to take a risk in case their pet does not like the choice or, worse still, has nothing to eat.

Asked what they would do if the product they had just purchased had been out of stock, shoppers gave a range of answers. Some 36% said they would choose another brand, while a quarter said that they would leave it and 8% said they would try another product that was similar to their normal choice.

Visuality has not received such detailed answers from shoppers when working across food categories. One shopper said: "I do sometimes try another brand, but my dog is so fussy I end up giving it to my neighbour's dog."

Almost half of shoppers believed they were influenced by promotions and yet, in terms of observed behaviour, the category comprises destination shoppers acting largely according to habit.

Nearly a third (30%) said nothing would make them consider trying a new product, while a quarter said they would do so if it were cheaper.

The majority of shoppers thought the display was overwhelming.

Their comments related to the fact that there were too many multipacks and not enough individual tins.

Pouches were seen to be too expensive by some cat owners, who said they "never seemed to have the right amount" for their cat.

Some shoppers believed that treats and accessories located alongside petfood influenced them to consider buying their pet a treat.