Recognizing and Understanding the Early Adopters of Walmart Veterinary Services

Walmart has begun expanding their business into veterinary care and expects to have 100 locations open across 23 states by June of 2020. For pet owners, that means the ultimate in convenience—one location offering everything from cat litter and dog beds to vaccines and wellness exams. For private practice veterinarians, that means trouble. But how do you know which clients are most likely to test out Walmart veterinary services first? Trone Research + Consulting surveyed pet owners for Diggo’s latest brief to gain a clearer picture of the Walmart Early Adopters. One big surprise: they’re not just Millennials looking for the lowest price.

The Reality

Nine out of 10 pet owners currently shop at Walmart. Sure, they’re buying milk and pet treats, but many of them are also using Walmart services such as the pharmacy, auto care center and vision center. It’s not a far leap to go from getting an eye exam for yourself or medications for your kids to getting a wellness exam for your dog or cat. The more Walmart services pet owners currently use, the more likely they are to be one of the first to try Walmart veterinary services. It makes sense. But that doesn’t make it any less concerning for private practices.

They Don’t Look Alike

Identifying clients who fall into the Early Adopter category isn’t as easy as most veterinarians might assume. Twenty-four percent of cat owners and 26 percent of dog owners are likely to be Early Adopters of Walmart veterinary services. And while the highest percentage of them are Millennials, sizable groups of GenXers and Boomers are interested in checking out this new care option, too. Early Adopters also span all income groups, including those who have a household income of $100,000 or more.

Likely to be Early Adopters

What Early Adopters Believe

It’s not that Early Adopters don’t care about their pets. In fact, they’re more attached than typical pet owners. It’s not that they only care about the price. It’s not even that they’re unhappy with or not confident in their veterinarians. So what is it? Early Adopters are more likely to believe that they can get high quality care from all different kinds of veterinary services. To them, a veterinarian is a veterinarian, regardless of where they practice. This may blow your mind, but nearly half of Early Adopters believe that Walmart clinics would provide HIGHER quality care than their current primary veterinarian.

Pricing Expectations for Walmart vs. Current Clinic Among Early Adopters

The Good News

We already mentioned that Early Adopters are more attached to their pets than typical pet owners. They take their pets to the veterinarian more often and for a wider variety of services than pet owners in general—including things that Walmart won’t provide, like sick care for moderate health issues, daycare or overnight boarding, emergency care and specialty care. So while Early Adopters may decide to split up their pet’s care between different locations, there is still an opportunity for your clinic to maintain a relationship with these clients. For tips on how your clinic can build loyalty with Early Adopters and more details about the potential impact of Walmart’s veterinary services on private practice, purchase the full Diggo brief, The Threat of Walmart.

About the Data Source

Diggo was created by Trone Research + Consulting, an independent research firm that has decades of experience conducting marketing research in the companion animal veterinary and consumer segments.