People love their pets. This is neither a surprising nor profound observation, but consumers’ love of their pets is responsible for the largest growth in the pet care market ever seen.
The pet care industry has been on an upward trajectory for several years, growing in line with other CPG categories. But as Mintel notes, when the pandemic began, changes in routines impacted consumers’ relationships with their pets. For many pet owners, lockdown meant spending significantly more time with their pets, who became the main source of companionship and comfort. The strengthened bond between pet and owner has led owners will look for ways to further pamper their pet as a token of appreciation.
Global spending has increased in the pet care category from €123 billion in 2020 to more than €133 billion in 2021. In the United States, spending has doubled in the last 10 years. The United Kingdom is the top spender in Europe with €5.5 billion, closely followed by Germany.
Last year, there were no signs of a slowdown in the momentum of this category either. More than one in four pet owners have acquired a new pet in the past twelve to 18 months (Forsa survey, 11/2021). As the number of pet owners continues to grow, we can assume that the industry will grow with it.
Given the strengthening bonds between pets and their owners and their owners’ willingness to express their love with their wallets, there are several long-term trends that will continue impacting the pet care industry. Let’s look at a few.
Pets Are People Too
In the past, pets often played a functional role within a family, such as guard dogs or barn cats. But in recent years, pets have started playing a much more important role: fur babies.
Millennials, who are forgoing or delaying traditional milestones such as marriage and child-rearing, are turning to their pets to play a familial role. For example, more than three-quarters of female Millennials (76%) refer to their pet as their "fur baby", according to Statista.
As pet ownership has grown worldwide to nearly 57% of consumers (GfK), fur babies have become as highly regarded as their two-legged counterparts. According to a survey conducted by Fortune as far back in 2016, 76% of pet owners consider their pets to be family members.
And as the importance of pets as family has grown so too has their humanisation. Pet owners not only want to meet the basic needs of their animals, but they also want the best for them: To give them a happy, healthy, fulfilled life.
In fact, the humanisation of our pets is an overarching trend that is spurring a host of other trends across the category,