COVID-19 has greatly impacted the entire world. Yet some people claim the pandemic may bring opportunities for the pet care industry.
Indeed, during the first half of 2020, analysts (Euromonitor) claimed the pet care industry was becoming ‘more dynamic’. They said, as a result of this new activity, e-commerce and new start-ups are driving product innovation and growth.
Certainly, some analysts predict the pet care industry will be worth more than $200 billion globally by 20205! However, has the coronavirus pandemic put the kibosh on this?
What drives the growth of pet care?
Thanks to COVID-19, many people have spent more time with their pets during the lockdown. In fact, many people chose to adopt a pet during COVID to keep them company as they adhered to social distancing rules.
This in itself (i.e. higher adoption rates) could benefit the pet care market, as it may drive the uptake of pet services. Furthermore, increased demand for pet food could shine a positive light on the pet food market as we head into 2021.
We know pet owners spend more on their fur pals now than they ever did. According to Finder.com.au app data, in June 2019, there were 1,001 individual transactions for pet care or pet products and an average spend of $90 per transaction. Yet, in June 2020, the number of transactions had more than doubled to 2,334 and the average spend was $100 per transaction.
From grooming sessions and pet hotels to preventative care and pet fashion, we love to treat our pets. Without a doubt, it appears that pet owners are not only treating their fur pals, but they’re indulging them more often and willing to pay more and more each time.
Our behaviour is driven by anthropomorphism—the attribution of human characteristics to our pets. We treat our dogs like family members. We want to feed them a nutritious diet. We want our furry friends to look good and feel the best they can.
Post-pandemic opportunities for pet care
According to many reports, e-retail and online pet brands are the businesses that are seeing the greatest demand. This has been driven by the fact many people have only been able to order online, due to lockdown and social distancing rules.
Although, it’s not just fun things such as toys and treats that pet owners are purchasing. As pet adoption and ownership increases, so too does the demand for preventative products and pet health care.
Certainly, the ability for pet parents to connect with pet professionals, such as vets, via telehealth has helped support and stabilise the industry. Furthermore, because people are at home and spending more time in the company of their pets, they have more inclination to take care of their pet’s wellbeing. Pet owners are also more likely to notice a potential health concern that needs veterinary attention.
The pet industry players doing well
Entrepreneur reports that over the last ten years many brands have created products that not only offer health or mental benefits, but also aesthetic or aspirational (i.e. perfect for an Instagram post) value.
New players or existing brands wishing to secure a bigger share of the market may benefit from moving away from traditional models. Pet owners are now looking for food formulation and products that bring greater wellbeing. For example, pet parents are looking for toys that are not only fun but also assist with behavioural development.
Indeed, it could be that the coronavirus pandemic has shaken up the pet care industry for the better. If, as a result, we see greater innovation and activity the pet care market could be in for a fun ride over the coming years.
What is your experience of the effects of COVID-19 on the pet care industry? How has your business coped?
We’d love to hear your comments and insights. Simply post in the comments box below.
- Euromonitor International. Pet care in Australia. May 2020.
- Middlemiss, N. Why 2020 is the year of the pet. Finder.com.au. July 2020.
- Watson, I. As the pet care world adjusts to a pandemic, opportunities emerge for furry DTC upstarts. The Drum. April 2020. Accessed online via https://www.thedrum.com/
- Guttman, J. 4 reasons the pandemic is a boom for the pet industry. Entrepreneur. June 2020.