It is undeniable that the pet industry continues to be a lucrative area of retail, but MarketWatch.com suggests, “The U.S. pet market has yet to come fully into its own.” Shoppers of pet products have shown great favoritism towards high priced specialty retail channels, with discount stores vying for attention, but with a close eye on trends, the pet market can be profitable for any retail outlet. A great resource is the recent March 2012 consumer survey, U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2012-2013, a go-to source for a complete understanding of the U.S. pet industry. In its fourth edition, the report evaluates current trends and future directions for marketing and retailing, along with consumer patterns across the full spectrum of the market, including veterinary services, pet food, nonfood pet supplies, non-medical pet services and much more.
Among some of the notable trends is that store brands are more important than ever, with natural, organic, and eco-friendly products continuing to advance. But as MarketWatch points out, “At the same time, many Americans remain budget strapped, and it’s essential that pet marketers and retailers respond to this mindset, as well as to the expectations of less cost-conscious pet owners.” As a result, in this market environment, it’s no accident that along with pet specialty retailers, price focused dollar stores and wholesale clubs have been growing their pet business. The best way to win customers, other than prices, is to effectively relate by recognizing that pet owners are more like pet parents. “Pet parenting, and the ensconcement of pets as members of the family, is more than just a trend. It is a long term societal shift, favoring even greater spending in the pet market for years to come,” emphasizes MarketWatch and the U.S. Pet Market Outlook. This article is adapted from a piece by MarketWatch.com.