Saturday, March 12, 2011

Have Products & Services to Pamper Pets

People love their pets and have loved to spend money on them even through these tough economic times. According to a recent Marketing Daily article, U.S. pet food sales at retail in year 2010 were up almost 3% over the 2009 level. Yes, this was the lowest growth rate in years. But at the same time, the rate was notably higher than for most other retail product categories.
     Survey researchers at Eastern Washington University found that about 80% of dog owners said they were serious about selecting healthy food for their dogs, but only 65% of the same people said they were serious about their own food selection. Findings from an ethnographic study at University of Utah attributed trends like these to us considering our pets to be more defenseless than ourselves.
     The Humane Society of the United States says about 40% of U.S. households have at least one dog and about 35% own at least one cat. That’s a substantial market, even if you don’t add in the horses, birds, lizards, gerbils, and goldfish. Researchers at St. Joseph’s University report that about 90% of pet owners consider their pets to be members of the family and about 75% of household cats and dogs receive gifts on holidays and birthdays.
     Whatever your retailing line, it would benefit you to carry some products of special interest to pet owners. Almost any retailer can have at least a limited line for pets. Harley-Davidson, Ralph Lauren, IKEA, and Lands’ End have all done it. The emphasis should be on health benefits.
     Services retailers, too, would benefit by thinking about ways to serve the pet owner market, although this is more likely to require a business that’s completely gone to the dogs, not a limited-line add-on. From Wag Hotels, offering accommodations in two cities, to PetsHotels, with locations in most U.S. states and one Canadian province, the emphasis is on luxury.
     The Marketing Daily article predicts that if you carry products and provide services for pets, your suppliers will back you up with marketing support. In year 2009, the latest year for which figures are available, pet food and pet care advertising expenditures grew 22% over the prior year. There’s consolidation among the companies. Procter & Gamble/Iams snapped up Natura, NestlĂ© Purina digested Waggin’ Train, and Wind Point Partners acquired pet accessories company Petmate. This could mean greater marketing muscle from your suppliers.

Click below for more:
Go Upscale for the Pet Market
Honor Those Who Love Those Pets

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