Pet owners are increasingly treating their cats, dogs and even small mammals like members of their family. The opportunity to commercialise this trend into a vast range of goods and services – from dog beer to cat counselling, from pet weddings to “social petworking” – is staggering for the company that can position themselves in such a way to gain credibility among this growing demographic. This global report examines the behaviour and the strategic impact on pet care markets world wide.
Changing family structures and lifestyles lead to smaller pets
There is a broad global trend towards small pets, notably cats and small dogs, but also small mammals in some markets. In developed markets where overall pet populations are falling, such as UK, US, Japan, France and Spain, there is typically growth in some, if not all, types of smaller pets.
Urbanisation is forcing people into smaller spaces where large pets are not practical, and into longer working/commuting, hours where high maintenance pets are not feasible. Ageing populations look to a small, easy to care for pet for companionship; so do young singles.
Both humanisation and anti-humanisation encourages higher spending on pet care
Small pets are much more likely to be indulged and humanised than large dogs. Furthermore, demographic shifts towards smaller households makes some consumers want to plug the familial gap with a canine or feline companion. Rising incomes means more money to indulge the pet.
The opposite is true for pets in more rural settings, where anti humanisation means pets are treated as well loved animals, prompting a rise in BARF diets, and featuring high quality products.
These factors have led to a marketplace led by small animals and indulgent pet owners who are happy to spend heavily on ensuring they have the best possible quality of life.
In developed markets where pet populations are showing growth, growth is typically led by small pets. In India and Mexico, where the pet culture is underdeveloped but growing fast among wealthy city dwellers, growth is led by small dogs, while in South Korea growth is led by cats.
Pet humanisation is set to continue to drive sales of pet products and services. This will be led by rising populations of small animals, economic growth in developing markets and recovery in developed markets, and the ongoing tightness of the animal/human bond.
The entry of big business into new areas of the pet products and services market heralds further mainstreaming of previously niche areas, such as grooming and day care.
At the same time, established categories such as pet food and treats are pushing relentlessly upmarket as pet owners grow ever more discerning and as outlier trends push further into the mainstream.
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