We are a nation of pet lovers. The U.S. Census reports the country currently has 124.587 million households, with 84.6 million households owning pets. This number has steadily increased for more than two decades. In many ways, pet owners treat their pets like members of the family who require special attention, quality foods, and activities similar to everyone else in the family. Giving pets human qualities is a primary reason the U.S. Pet industry generated more than $86 billion dollars in sales last year—a 5 percent increase over the previous year.
Home Improvement Retailers who have established a niche dedicated to pet products and services are in a favorable position to grow at a steady pace by understanding the trends and factors that are propelling growth within the pet industry. It can help you attract diverse customers who are willing to purchase more expensive specialty products and establish beneficial relationships with other businesses that may be willing to partner with you on pet-related community events.
Pet Ownership Based On Percentage of U.S. Population. *
- Dog 48%
- Cat 38%
- Freshwater Fish 10%
- Bird 6%
- Other (small animal (5%), Reptile (4%), Horse (2%), Saltwater fish (2%)
Treating Pets Like People
Pet owners are making a conscious effort tokeep their pets healthy, safe and happy.This cultural shift has fueled the development of a variety of specialty products and services designed to satisfy the emotional requirements and high expectations pet owners place on the products they purchase.
- Traditional pet foods aren’t up to par for many owners. They prefer organic foods or grain-free products that are fresh, frozen or prepared-to-order.
- Pets are given vitamins and supplements to promote good health and long life
- Pets receive 8-10 treats per day in addition to meals
Pet owners prefer buying brand name products and are willing to pay the higher price since they associate brand names with higher quality and are confident they will receive what they have purchased.
Fitting Pets Into Millennial
Although baby boomers own 32 percent of pets, a higher percentage of households with pets are headed by millennials. Gen Y (35 percent). Followed by Gen X (27 percent), and Builders (individuals 71 and older) at 6 percent. The term “pet parent” typically is used about millennials who have taken the humanization of their pets to an entirely new level. According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, millennials who own dogs:
- Take pets to the vet more often, and give them flavored oral medications and vitamins
- Pay for a range of pet services. These include daycare, boarding and pet sitting
- Take pats on errands and to a dog park
- Purchase designer items for their pets and hold birthday parties
- Buy gifts for special occasions, and spend more on the items purchased
Protecting Pets and
Keeping Them Active
Smart technology has expanded the options pet owners have to protect and care for the health of their furry friends. Similar to what they do for themselves, pet owners keep their furry friends in shape by monitoring their physical activity, and health metrics. Electronic tracking devices are an effective way to keep pets safe and give owners peace of mind. Video cameras accessed by Smartphone can show owners what their pets are up to while they are away from home. This technology helps owners manage their time more efficiently and care for their pets based on their lifestyles.
Connecting to Pet Owners
Selling Pet Products is a great niche business for Home Improvement Retailers. If you’re not currently selling pet products, start small to get a good idea of the types of products that appeal to your customers. When it comes to the pet category, it pays to be different. Focus on stocking quality products that may not be available at the local big box. Owners love their pets and are willing to pay a premium price for products they believe will keep their pets happy and healthy.