The Selling Point

The Pet Industry Needs to Change with the Trends

It’s the start of a new decade and with it we can expect to see some industry stereotypes and trends fading, making way for more new trends and changes. As retailers, it’s paramount that we recognize these changes and be nimble as we adapt with them.

Here’s a little of what we can expect this year, and how pet retailers can pivot:

The Target Markets Are Shifting

The New Top Spenders

Pet owners are spending more than ever on their furry friends. But the makeup of the top spenders may surprise you. The title is no longer held by the Baby Boomers, who had a $6.5 billion drop in pet spending in 2018.

The gap in pet spending was filled by younger pet owners, who are now the top spenders. Pet parents, ages 25 and under, saw an increase of 41% (up by $.81 billion) in spending. Millenial spending is also up by 25.4% ($3.4 billion).

We are also seeing increased spending in other segmented populations, including central city dwellers, renters, singles, and married couples with children.

These populations are not one-size-fits-all and need to be targeted accordingly and effectively. Gen Xers and Millennials are accustomed to on-demand service, but they also seek customization and personalized attention. This is good news for independent pet retailers, who can offer the type of human connection that can’t be found online.


Move Over, Cat Lady

Urban males are quickly outpacing other demographics in cat ownership. This industry trend is likely due to several factors:

  • Cats are the ideal pet for urban environments
  • Cats are low maintenance and easy to care for. A selling point for those with demanding schedules
  • They offer companionship

Take inventory of what your store has to offer for this demographic. As a whole, cat consumers are turning more towards grocery stores instead of premium stores.

Hosting an event geared toward these pet parents, such as a cat adoption, can go a long way in establishing you as a leader for the urban cat parent.


Small Dogs: Not Just for Grandma

Small dog ownership is on the rise for younger pet owners, particularly amongst the Millennial set. These dogs are more mobile and are easier to accompany their busy owners to different places. A growing trend is bringing small dogs into the workplace.

However, the dog industry has tended to skew toward big dogs, often overlooking the smaller furry friends. With small dog ownership on the rise, retailers need to step up their game for the 20-pound and under variety. And take note — owners of these dogs do not want to be referred to by the diminutive size of their pups.

The way in which products geared toward small dogs are packaged is also changing. With more males adopting small dogs, the traditionally popular pink and pastel varieties are being phased out. Pet owners want more choices that suit their individual style.

Build rapport with small dog owners. Find out what products they are seeking, and how you can fill that need.

In this digital age, industry trends come and go. Keep yourself informed and be agile with the changes.

For more info on these trends and how you can set yourself apart from the online competition, download our eBook, Meeting the Needs of the Pet Parent.

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