With Brexit on the horizon, high street spending rapidly declining, and people looking to budget supermarkets for their weekly food shop, you may think that the pet industry would also be suffering from cutbacks in personal budgets and tightened belts when it comes to non-essential purchases.
“No matter how long politicians fuel uncertainty by arguing over Brexit, the nation’s pets will still need feeding, grooming and caring for, underpinning the strength of the sector,” according to a Glee spokesperson.
This answer would account for maintained levels of spending among pet owners looking to feed and clean their pets. Yet, global pet grooming spending is forecast to grow by nearly 5% year on year from 2015 to 2025 and the pet food market is reported to have grown in 2017 to £2.65 billion. All this despite the total percentage of pet owners in the UK falling slightly in recent years. British pet ownership is typically comparable to those in the USA, and while pet ownership there is also high, it is typically younger people who are pet owners. “While baby boomers account for 32% of pets owned, households headed by younger cohorts account for 62% of pet ownership” – Forbes. It seems that British pet owners could be in a similar position. Perhaps legions of younger pet owners are helping to lead the pet product revolution.
It’s not only the pet food and grooming market which is enjoying a boost at the moment. The pet accessories market is also expected to pass £900 million by 2021-22.
A growing pet market flies in the face of other industries who are struggling to sell to audiences. People seem more willing to spend on their pets than on themselves in many cases.
The Bad: Pet Insurance
Not all areas of pet ownership are driving sales. The pet insurance market is still suffering low uptake, with only 55% of owners having paying for it. According to a Mintel report, only 34% of dog owners and 50% of cat owners have insurance.
When asked why many do not have insurance, a common answer (36%) is that it does not represent good value for money. 21% of owners state that they do not trust the insurer to pay out when needed. 13% say that they dropped their insurance after price increases.
Worryingly, only 21% of owners believe that they could cover the cost of vet bills in the event of an incident.
“Brits are clearly passionate about animals, but our research shows that just under half of pet owners still don’t have insurance, highlighting the scope for further growth in the future. Communicating the real expenses involved in taking a pet to the vet for serious treatment, compared to the monthly cost of insurance, is a compelling case in favour of getting cover. Convincing reluctant consumers that policies are comprehensive and pay out most of the time is kept to increasing take-up of pet insurance.” – Chana Batam, Retail Analyst at Mintel.
Recent Innovations in Pet Products
With the rise in spending comes increased innovation. New products are cropping up all the time, hoping to take advantage of a relatively niche market.
One such product is Vodafone’s new V-Pet tracker. The device attaches to the animal’s collar or harness and offers round-the-clock supervision. Using GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the device makes it possible to keep a tab on their location as well as set up safe zones. In the event the animal leaves a safe zone then you get a notification.
Other innovations include a whole host of toilet devices for dogs and cats alike. The robot cat litter trays are ideal for indoor cats, with the waste automatically cleaned up. Robot dog toilets offer a similar purpose, great for times when you may be out of the house for a long period of time.
While many of these products seem like extravagances, 1 in 4 owners believe that it is important to keep up to date with new pet-tech, styles and trends. Over half of owners aged 16-34 believe it’s important to buy their pets presents for special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. Half also state that they have considered buying their pet an activity monitor to make sure that they are getting enough exercise.
Pet products are in fashion at the moment, and the trend’s expected to continue.
While many in the UK are tightening their belts due to the rising cost of living and the risk of Brexit, pet owners are actually spending more on their pets.
Whether they’re looking to feed or treat their pets, people are spending a lot of money following the latest pet trends.
Animal clothes and accessories have been popular for smaller dogs for a while, but the trend has grown. These days you can buy clothes and accessories for dogs of all shapes and sizes, from Chihuahua to Great Danes.
The rise of Animal Influencers has surely helped too. It is not uncommon to see a cat on Instagram (see Animal Influencers) wearing a hat or a jumper. Owners want to make sure that their pets have the same brilliant lives of those they see on social media.