The impact of recession on consumer spending and attitudes has been rather small in the pet industry and 2009 statistics have proved this trend. Sales related to pets even grew slightly in 2009 and they were among the very few categories which benefited from such a trend.
People who spend money for their pets are still looking for value in the money they are spending on their pets, which does not mean that they spend less. As the population ages, pet owners tend to spend money on their pets which replace their children at home. Most of the money spent is still directed towards necessities such as food, bedding or leashes. But newer and more sophisticated services are emerging to cater to a growing population of both humans and animals.
Evidence that pet services continue to grow come from one example such as Wal-Mart which is expanding its pet grooming facilities into its stores. Pets are more and more included in their owners’ lifestyle, so visits to a spa or exercise programs where pets accompany their owners are more and more frequent. This trend is especially obvious in urban areas, where the number of day care accommodation is growing.
There is also a growing interest in pet health care, and pet lovers are looking for treatment options that are more similar to those that exist for themselves. Veterinarians who are able to supply such services are in higher demand. Pet insurance is also expected to grow, as a consequence although statistics say that it is still not very common practice. In U.S. there are 10 pet insurance companies selling under 14 brands.
Pets are drawing attention of larger retailers which are expanding into the their space. But small businesses can also thrive in this industry, especially those that are using online space to get noticed. Rescue organizations are already using social media networking to raise funds for their campaigns centered on welfare of animals and use of Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn has already proven to be successful.
Larger players also expand their pet services, PetSmart is one such example. New pet hotels and grooming services opened by PetSmart are flourishing.
Products and services offered for pets can benefit from the growing popularity of review sites and instantaneous feedback on Twitter. Pet health and pet adoption is growing its online presence and even sites that have focused in the past just on human health are now offering advice about pets.
Newer websites are more sophisticated and ecommerce sites are growing in numbers and clients using them. Pet-related blogs also become more and more frequent and they have already proven to be useful by offering quality commentaries an all aspects related to animals. The pet food recalls have been largely due to the growing influence of such blogs.
Even taxes are evolving towards taking animals into account. Besides vet care, pet care expenses might be deductible in the future, or at least some of them. Pet health insurance might soon become an optional pre-tax benefit.