Pets rule the retail roost
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the blog of LoyaltyOne. The article first appeared on Forbes.com.
Pets are wrestling control over larger parts of household budgets, along with owners’ hearts, as demonstrated by Valentine’s Day. Owners were expected to spend $886 million this year on their pets for V-day, up from $519 million when the National Retail Federation first asked in 2008.
Overall, $72 billion was expected to be spent on pets in 2018, compared with $43 billion 10 years earlier, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) reports. From nutrition-specific foods to doggy cams and app-connected food bowls, pet-related products are feeding an industry with sales more than three times greater than children’s toys ($21.6 billion in 2018).
Pet-owning households in the U.S. now exceeds those with children — 84.6 million versus 52.8 million, according to the APPA. In short, pets are increasingly capturing the love once reserved for kids.
Saks, Zulily’s and Home Depot are among retailers offering niche pet products. Barnes & Noble, Bath & Body Works and Macy’s invite dogs into stores to browse with owners, recognizing the potential traffic boost.
But it’s in more specialized products and services where pet potential may be greatest for retail:
- At Miami’s Ocean Bal Harbour condominiums, residents treat their pups to a five-star grooming spa that features deep fur conditioning, de-shedding treatments, cooling eye masks and “Yappy Hour.”
- Pet Releaf in Littleton, CO, markets THC-free cannabis for pets as an aid for anxiety, seizures, arthritis and other pain.
- The app-connected Furbo camera enables owners to talk with their pups and release treats.
- Handicappedpets.com sells nothing but harnesses, diapers, blind halos and other products to help older or handicapped pets live comfortably.
The roles our domesticated critters play in our purchase decisions appear to be on a powerful curve, aided in large part by education and social media. Even an awkward-looking cat, Lil Bub, can attract two million Instagram followers (and you can buy a Lil Bub plush toy at Bed Bath & Beyond).
Which means a shopper doesn’t even have to own a pet to be influenced by one. For those who do, Valentine’s Day may be over, but St. Patrick’s Day is within days. And heck, you can start planning for Halloween now.
- Pet Owners Spending $75 Billion – How Macy’s, Bed Bath and Beyond and Others are Helping – Forbes
- Fewer consumers celebrating Valentine’s Day but those who do are spending more – National Retail Federation
- Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics – American Pet Products Association
- U.S. Toy Industry Retail Sales Generated $21.6 Billion In 2018 – NPD
- 12 Big Retail Chains You Didn’t Know Were Dog Friendly – Wide Open Pets
- Oceana Bal Harbour’s New Pet Spa Pampers Posh Pups – Forbes
- Pot for pets? Cannabis products marketed for animals – CBS News
- Furbo Dog Camera
- iamlilbub – Instagram
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see similar drivers when it comes to spending on pets and kids? Will pet spending plateau soon or will it continue to present an increasingly broad range of opportunities in the years ahead?