Written by PIJAC Canada Member and Guest Author
Stephanie Dumont, Founder & Creative Director of StreetDog Marketing
Visit the StreetDog Marketing Blog HERE.
There’s no denying that the pet industry has exploded. And it shows no signs of slowing down.
With massive growth, an undeniable immunity from financial downturn, and considerable opportunity and market share in eCommerce, the pet industry is expanding at such a rapid rate that it can feel hard to keep up.
Pet owners don’t just want to shop online – they want to find everything they’re looking for and more by shopping with brands and for products that meet their rapidly growing pet care needs. That’s where key trends come into play.
While “trends” don’t always have a positive connotation – after all, a trend, by nature, doesn’t stay in style forever – the way we shop has changed, which means some trends are definitely here to stay. Let’s explore 5 pet industry trends that could help your pet business grow – not just in 2020, but beyond.
Trend #1: Holistic pet food
Bespoke or niche pet food brands offering all-natural or organic pet food really aren’t anything new, but the days of the pet industry being dominated by large brands like Iams or Purina are quickly fading in the rearview mirror. And it’s all thanks to the pet wellness trend.
From proactive supplements and all-natural ingredients to organic pet foods and raw diets, many pet brands are hopping on board with creating pet food that doesn’t just cater to our own preferences, but actually benefits the health and wellness of our pets.
Consumers want to be able to understand the ingredient labels on their pets’ food, and know that they’re giving their pet the best diet, which is why more pet food brands are cropping up or pivoting to offer the raw, fresh, all-natural, organic, and all around safer/healthier food options.
It’s not just the ingredient list that is getting the makeover, though. Many of the pet industry’s biggest pet food brands have begun marketing their products so that buzzwords like “real meat”, “with healthy grains”, “whole animal nutrition” or “all-natural protein” show up on packaging, in ingredient lists, and in digital marketing.
It may seem like this trend could easily come and go, given how quickly pet food tends to change. But with the world increasingly focusing on wellness in the wake of COVID-19, our pets are no exception, and a holistic approach to pet food is something consumers have long demanded (and paid good money for)!
Not to mention, pet food is one of the top verticals within the pet industry, representing one of the largest niches in the global pet market.
Trend #2: Pet subscriptions
Compared to other pet trends, pet subscriptions haven’t been around as long as you might think.
But their relatively short tenure in the pet industry hasn’t stopped pet-based subscription services from absolutely blowing up the pet market, where services like monthly “clubs”, boxes, and even medicine and supplement subscriptions are taking over.
A lot of this demand comes from millennial pet owners who account for roughly 35% of pet owners in North America. Millennials grew up with online shopping and eCommerce, and so it makes sense that most of their purchases not only take place online but are also automated.
By and large, the biggest subscription type that’s taken the pet industry by storm so far is the pet subscription box – when you think about this service, you probably think of brands like Chewy or WagWell, where boxes filled with toys, treats and accessories arrive at your doorstep every month.
Pet subscriptions can include literally everything from toys and treats to pet clothing, pet foods, supplements, speciality items, and even breed-specific subscription boxes. Whether you have birds, cats, fish, dogs, horses, guinea pigs…you name it, there’s a subscription service for it.
But why are subscription services so popular, and why is this trend not going anywhere? The answer: convenience and personalization. 44% of shoppers buying pet products are motivated by the convenience of shopping online, while subscriptions allow for more personalization of products and services.
Trend #3: Pet insurance
It may come as quite a shock, but owning a pet can cost upwards of $40,000 across its entire lifetime, though this depends largely on the breed of pet and what occurs during their lifetime (like medical costs).
When it comes to pet costs, by and far the most money spent on pets is dedicated to food and vet/medical costs, which can quickly add up, especially if your pet has a condition, needs or has a specific diet, or takes regular medication.
And that’s where pet insurance has become more than just a trend – it’s become a mainstay.
Pet insurance can cover a plethora of different pet care needs, and more pet insurance brands are pivoting to offer coverage for more than just the primary vet costs, like vaccines or medications.
In Canada in 2019 alone, pet insurance premiums amounted to over $200 million, and Canadian insurance brands are rapidly expanding their services to ensure they can cover pet costs.
From a business perspective, teaming up with pet insurance brands or collaborating with them can give you the opportunity to provide value to your customers, like special discounts on pet insurance, or even affiliate marketing!
Trend #4: Supplements
There was a time where, as pet owners, we wouldn’t use supplements or natural additives in our pets diets without vet-approved medications or prescriptions. But times have changed, and the pet supplement market within the pet industry has boomed.
For example, all-natural supplements like collagen, bone broth, fish oils, and even milks (like goat milk) have become staples in the diets of many pets, especially dogs, where raw-food diets and organic or natural supplements are part of the everyday pet’s meal.
Though supplements should never be given to pets without first understanding a pet’s needs, many pet brands can take advantage of this popular product sector within the pet industry by offering all-natural supplements (like collagens) as part of their product lineup, especially if the ingredients are sourced close-to-home and are truly natural.
Trend #5: Pet grooming
As of 2018, the pet grooming market was valued at over $9 billion in the USA alone.
And there’s good reason for that!
Between all-natural pet care and holistic wellness, along with personalized services, subscriptions, and bespoke grooming in retail, pet grooming is only continuing to grow in popularity. Add to that the growing awareness of ingredients in both pet food and wellness products, and it’s easy to see why more pet owners are focusing so heavily on treating their pets to quality goods.
When it comes to pet grooming, there’s really no exception. It’s not only vital to the health of most pets and breeds, but the demand for quality, safe and, more increasingly, natural or organic grooming goods is driving consumer purchasing. For example, more pet brands are pivoting their product lines to be “green” or all-natural, while more grooming brands pop up everyday, offering hypoallergenic shampoos, natural conditioners, paw and nose balms, bug sprays, and more.
According to recent studies, pet shampoos and conditioners account for the majority of revenue made from pet grooming products, based on the most common hygiene needs of pets like dogs. This is especially true for breeds that require speciality cleansing products, which are more common now than they ever have been.
Because of the increasing demand for pet grooming options, there’s a significant opportunity for pet businesses to break into new markets and reach new segments of customers by offering products like balms, shampoos, sprays and more. But beware of over-saturation – with so many pet grooming products available on the market today, especially through eCommerce, you’ll need a clear strategy for how you’ll market yours, if you choose to break into this sector of the pet industry!
Which trend is right for your pet business?
When it comes to growing your pet business, trends may seem like a bandwagon you don’t need to hop on. And for the most part, many of the trends in the pet industry don’t last for long. But with COVID came an entirely new way of shopping, and new reasons for buying the products we purchase. Whether it’s insurance for our pets or quality, natural pet food, there’s no denying how much the pet industry, and the trends that come with it, have exploded.
Choosing the right “trend” or business opportunity for your pet brand necessitates knowing what your audiences want and what your customers actually need. What are they shopping for, and can you meet the demand?
If you’re struggling with growing your pet business, the StreetDog Marketing team is here to help! With our full suite of services tailored specifically to pet businesses, we can help you elevate your pet brand and take your business to the next level. Contact us today to discover how we can help your business grow.