Pet Industry is Booming

By Packaged Facts, Special for  USDR

With sales reaching $73 billion in 2014, the U.S. pet products and services market is continuing its upward trajectory on the strength of several important industry trends. According to the experts at market research firm Packaged Facts, the trends are expected to develop even further in 2015. These trends include, but are not limited  to:

  • The uptick in dog and cat owning U.S. households, even as the size of the pets themselves  shrink
  • The rise in e-commerce for pet products, especially pet  medications
  • The aging pet population and obesity among  pets

Findings related to these and other trends were published in the Packaged Facts report, U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2014-2015. The report can be obtained by visiting:  http://www.packagedfacts.com/Pet-Outlook-8136111/.

The percentage of households owning any pet has increased slightly over the past few years, with Packaged Facts data indicating an encouraging recent uptick in dog and cat ownership. Today, 45 million U.S. households own dogs, and 30 million households own cats. Ironically, while the U.S. dog population is growing, it’s also getting smaller. Packaged Facts’ Pet Owner Survey indicates that a higher percentage of U.S. households have small dogs (under 25 lbs.) than medium dogs (25-40 lbs.) or large dogs (40+ lbs.), with the figures at 52%, 32%, and 42%, respectively. The percentage of pet owners with small and large dogs increased slightly, while those with medium dogs held   steady.

Packaged Facts expects the shift to smaller dogs to continue in the years ahead, with the aging human population as a key driver. Further, the shift to smaller dogs could have numerous ramifications for the U.S. pet market. Since smaller dogs eat less, pet food marketers may find it even harder to buck up volume sales. At the same time, size- and breed-specific foods should help to pick up any dollar slack, an angle brands like Mars’ Cesar and Royal Canin have been working successfully for many years. Considering nonfood pet supplies, the smaller dog shift denotes opportunities in myriad indoor products, including crates and kennels, training pads, pet beds, and pet odor prevention/removal and clean-up  products.

The purchase of pet products online grew 38% in 2014 and roughly a third of pet owners buy pet products via the Internet. Pet medications sales in particular have been among the most affected by the consumer shift in purchasing pet products online. Because of their small size and low shipping costs, pet medications are particularly well suited for sale via the Internet, which is an excellent medium for delivering the information consumers need to make product choices. Internet-based retailers offer everything from flea/tick products to prescription NSAIDs, forcing individual veterinarians to compete for sales with organizations with substantial buying  clout.

The aging pet population is one reason Americans are spending more on pets.  Approximately 45% of dog owners have a dog age 7 or older, while 46% of cat owners have a cat in that oldest age bracket, according to the Packaged Facts Pet Owner Survey. The growing population of older pets means more companion animals are suffering from age-related conditions including joint, coronary, cognitive, and immune-system-related, as well as diabetes and cancer. Senior-targeted pet products cover all of these needs as well as routine daily concerns, and because of their more specialized health focus, senior products and services are typically priced well above the market  average.

Much like the increased medical bills associated with aging pets, caring for an obese pet can put a hefty dent in pet owners’ wallets. Data reveals that 52% of dogs and cats in the U.S. are obese. Negative health conditions stemming from overweight/obesity in dogs and cats include osteoarthritis and other orthopedic disorders, type 2 diabetes, respiratory disorders, hypertension (high blood pressure) and cardiovascular disease, non-allergic skin disease, hepatic lipodosis (fatty liver), neoplasia, and many forms of cancer, with a growing body of statistics showing much higher rates of disease in overweight/obese  pets.

U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2014-2015 combines Packaged Facts’ Pet Owner Survey, making the report the go-to source for a complete understanding of the U.S. pet industry. In its 6th edition, the report charts future directions for marketing and retailing along with consumer purchasing patterns across veterinary services, pet food, nonfood pet supplies, and non-medical pet services (such as grooming, boarding, training). For more information on this and other reports in Packaged Facts’ industry-leading pet market research catalog, please  visit: http://www.packagedfacts.com/.

About Packaged Facts – Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods, and pet products and services.  Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research  services.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.