Humanisation Still Driving Pet Product Sales
In 2020, the pet population in Western Europe increased substantially. More time spent at home as a result of home seclusion resulted in more adoptions, as people had more time to look after their pets.
In 2021 and 2022, the growth in the pet population has continued albeit at a slower pace, driven by the new lifestyle of remote work. This has allowed more bonding time between people and pets, reinforcing the already established trend of pet humanisation.
According to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey, 71% of pet owners globally consider pets as members of the family. This is leading to greater attention to pet health and therefore has increased the demand for pet healthcare services.
Increase in pet products that focus on preventative health
Just as consumers have sought more health functionality in their own food, pet owners have also acquired more knowledge around pet health and begun favouring foods with preventative properties.
Pet product claims such as “natural”, “organic”, “immune system support” and “good omega source” expanded between 2020 and 2021 in Western Europe, according to Euromonitor’s Product Claims and Positioning Data.
Products such as pet supplements are also gaining attention, as these address nutritional deficiencies. Companies are of course tapping into this trend with new launches. For example, French start-up Truffe & Moustache not long ago launched a premium natural pet supplement for digestive and urinary comfort. In order to offer added convenience and achieve a human-like product proposition, the supplement is distributed through a unique mill-dispensing system, similar to a pepper grinder, designed to be ground on top of a pet’s food.
Moreover, studies from the Banfield pet hospital in the US have shown that on average pets are living longer. With pets getting older and their metabolism slowing with age, pet healthcare and in particular pet supplements, hold interesting potential for future growth from now until 2027, especially in the sector’s ability to expand to address the nutritional needs of “senior” animals.
Companies that offer pet food have begun incorporating pet supplements into their portfolios. For instance, in the UK, Harringtons recently launched new supplements for dogs that are made from natural ingredients and contain vitamins C and E, manganese and hyaluronic acid, which are available in the form of chews and tablets.
Humanisation expands possibilities in pet products and fuels premiumisation
With owners increasingly considering pets as family members, they have wanted to adapt rooms/spaces to their pets’ needs. After IKEA introduced its LURVIG range of pet furniture in 2017, it launched items such as a cat house that fits in a shelving unit and scratching mats that help protect surfaces. IKEA is adding value to its pet products now with digital designs aimed to help transform homes to make them inclusive for both humans and pets.
Pet clothing is also gaining attention with owners who like to dress their pets on special occasions such as Halloween and Christmas and who enjoy sharing images on social media. The offer in this segment has increased in terms of premium products. In Italy, for example, Luxpets offers designer clothes for dogs and cats from brands such as Versace, Fay and Barbour.
Sustainable claims on pet products such as pet toys and cat litter are also increasingly resonating with pet owners. According to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2022, in Europe, out of the 67% of respondents who were pet owners and worried about climate change, 30% were choosing sustainably produced items. An example of a company in this space is Sanicat, which in 2021 launched plant-based cat litter made from natural and recycled materials certified as biodegradable and compostable.
Perceived value-add is key during inflationary times
In 2022, prices have increased as a result of supply chain issues such as higher energy, commodity and labour costs. Euromonitor International’s macroeconomic scenarios illustrate the prospect of an economic slowdown in 2022 due to inflationary pressures. This is also impacting the pet products category, as owners are proportionally spending more compared to previous years.
Yet, in challenging economic periods such as 2009 and 2020, pet care proved to be resilient. Because of humanisation, pet care is considered high on pet owners’ spending priorities, and will likely lead to budget cuts being made elsewhere first.
For pet owners, pet expenses are a key part of the overall household budget. Even during tough times, the emotional benefit of caring for a pet could outweigh the financial cost. However, if the economic backdrop encourages pet owners to focus more on the price point of products, mid-priced to premium brands should ensure they are able to strike a balance between perceived value and affordability. New ways to connect with consumers and building brand loyalty are also essential for pet care companies if they want to remain competitive. Ecommerce deals and price-value retailers will become more and more relevant to pet owners aiming to reduce their expenses in turbulent times.
The humanisation trend is driving pet product sales in Western Europe as owners treat their pets more and more like their own children, buying them items that support their health and wellbeing. The higher emphasis on preventive health since the start of the pandemic is also a key new development in the industry, benefiting areas in particular pet healthcare. Sustainability has also become an important feature in the sale of pet products, with owners searching increasingly for brands that are aligned with their own values. During the forecasted period, perceived value-add will be critical to support pet product sales as consumers face tougher spending choices as cost of living goes up.
This Featured Article has been produced by Euromonitor. Rize ETF Ltd make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability of the information contained in this article.
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Liseth Galvis, “Humanisation a Key Driver of Pet Product Sales”, August 2022. Available at: https://www.euromonitor.com/article/humanisation-a-key-driver-of-pet-product-sales