Our small furry friends are big business for retail. 67 percent of U.S. households spent $72.56 billion last year on pet supplies. In March, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) released industry spending figures, showing pet product sales have exceeded last year’s spending by more than $3 billion. Bob Vetere, President and CEO of the American Pet Products Association says, “Millennials continue to be the largest pet-owning demographic and this shows in the data.” He continues, “we know this generation is willing to pay more for quality products and services to improve the health and well-being of their pets. Today more than ever, pet owners view their pets as irreplaceable members of their families and lives, and it’s thanks to this that we continue to see such incredible growth within the pet care community.”
Clothing, Costumes, and Accessories
It’s no secret that pet parents love dressing their fur babies up for Halloween. Last year, more than 30 million people spent an estimated $480 million on costumes for their pets, more than double the $220 million spent on pet Halloween costumes in 2010 when the National Retail Federation began tracking them. Pet costumes are big business, exemplified by the fact that year-round sales on pet apparel are increasing, too. 60 percent of millennials say they are likely to buy sweaters, coats, dresses and other fashion items for their pets.
Other kinds of pet accessories, like stylish collars and colorful bandanas, are another hot category in pet retail. This year at the NY NOW trade show, which typically displays homegoods and decor, pet accessories could be found around every corner, proving how ubiquitous pet products have become throughout our industry as a whole.
Pet Foods and Treats
According to APPA, spending on pet food continues to make up the majority of dollars spent in the industry, with premium dog food accounting for the most frequent type of food purchased, followed by generic and natural food. Rather than a higher volume of food being sold, the ongoing growth in this category likely stems from rising prices and sales of higher-priced foods made with quality ingredients. An interest in natural, locally-sourced treats and chews has never been higher across U.S. pet owners.
To meet consumer demands and make the most of this trend, retailers should look to sell dog treats and foods from local businesses or manufacturers. When sourcing products, think outside the box. There are many bakeries and home businesses that offer homemade healthy treats for dogs.
Each year, pet parents spend $5.24 billion on pet grooming and boarding. Some pet parents treat their furry companions to professional grooming and pampering services. Many more parents tackle grooming such as bathing, brushing, and nile filing at home.
Following food and veterinary care, spending on supplies and OTC medications holds the spot for the third highest source of pet spending. The use of pet meds and supplements to ensure longer, healthier lives for pets continues to increase.
Supplements for conditions and symptoms like joint pain are common. But, recently anti-anxiety remedies have also been increasingly popular. Many dogs, particularly rescued animals, suffer from separation anxiety, so pet parents are turning to natural products and supplements to help calm panting pups. CBD supplements, aromatherapy and pheromone therapy treatments, and chamomile products are all popular solutions.
Pet Toys and Accessories
Aside from food, pet toys are likely one of the most frequently purchased pet items. On average, dog owners spend $1,285 a year on their pet, while cat owners spend $915 a year. Dog toys are small, but eye-catching items that can be added to boutiques and general merchandise stores as standalone displays or as impulse buys near the checkout counter.
Pet tech is an emerging, yet booming section of the pet retail industry. Over 80% of Millennials say they frequently worry about their pets when they are apart even when running short errands. As a result of worried pet parents and genuine curiosity, sales for nanny-cam devices for dogs are on the rise.
Furbo, an interactive dog camera with an app that lets users see, talk to, and give treats to their pets when away, is one of the most popular pet cameras on the market. Other electronic pet gadgets, like self-cleaning robot litter boxes, automatic ball launchers for fetch, and even fitbit-like devices for dogs are all prevalent across trade shows like CES, online marketplaces, and social media posts.
Decor and Accessories for Animal Enthusiasts
Pet parents aren’t just spending on their animals. Many shoppers like to showcase their love for animals with apparel and accessories. Pet themed products are also popular gift items. When stocking up on merchandise for gift-giving holidays like winter holidays, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, be sure to stock some pet-themed items.