Guest post by Richard Rowlands
America is a nation of pet lovers – and that’s great news for the thriving pet industry.
As of 2017, 68 percent of all households in the United States owned pets, and an estimated $69.36 billion was spent on them last year alone.
The competitive marketplace and the huge demand for pet products and services have led to a diverse and prosperous industry.
Pet companies now offer a wide range of products and services to increasingly savvy consumers, and new trends and categories are continuing to develop.
So, what can we expect to see more of in the coming months?
Let’s take a look at 4 pet industry trends that are gaining momentum as we enter the second quarter of 2018.
1) Transparency About Ingredients and Manufacturing Processes
Pet foods made with natural ingredients have become mainstream in recent years. In fact, sales in the category accounted for a 25 percent share of the total US pet food market in 2016.
But besides knowing what’s in their pet’s food, modern pet owners want to know where the ingredients are sourced from and how the foods are manufactured.
This has resulted in increased transparency from pet food companies about manufacturing processes, and a move towards educating consumers on the health benefits of ingredients and where they’re sourced from.
Expect the trend to continue this year as pet food companies strive to win the trust of discerning pet owners in a competitive marketplace.
2) Specialized and High-End Pet Services
Specialized pet services are more popular than ever thanks to the busy lives of modern pet owners. Services such as pet-sitting, grooming, and training are now commonplace in most urban areas, and the trend looks set to continue as demand increases.
High-end pet services such as holistic pet spas, pet behavioral consulting, and luxury pet hotels are proving a particularly popular sub-niche in the pet services category.
The trend for high-end pet services appears to be driven in part by millennial pet owners who treat their pets as part of the family – and don’t mind paying premium prices to pamper them.
Technology is having a huge impact on the pet industry as a whole. Companies that understand digital marketing and e-commerce are connecting with the new generation of millennial pet owners and winning their custom. As a result, companies that fail to embrace technology risk being left behind.
Pet companies are also developing a wide range of tech products and services to improve the lives of pet owners.
Expect an increase in tech products and services including interactive pet toys and feeders, wearable tracking and health monitoring devices, and software that connects pet owners with pet service providers.
4) Home-Delivered Pet Food
As the popularity of e-commerce increases, pet food companies are realizing the potential of home-delivered pet food. While most pet owners still buy their pet food from brick-and-mortar stores, 17% of dog owners and 14% of cat owners have purchased pet food online for home delivery in the past 12 months.
Pet food companies are responding to this trend by offering a wide selection of home-delivered pet food options, including customized meal plans and pre-made, fresh pet meals.
With the convenience of home delivery and pet food options to suit the preferences of every pet owner, it’s likely that home-delivered pet food will continue to gain popularity in 2018 and beyond.