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Why big brands are moving into the pet market

07 January 2022

While many sectors experienced a significant downturn in the pandemic, the pet market has gone from strength to strength. With 59% of UK households now owning a pet, the UK pet care industry alone was valued at £2.9 billion in 2020, with the US pet market predicted to turn over $109.5 billion in 2021.

As a result, big brands from a range of sectors are starting to move into this emerging market. As more consumers welcome a pet to their family, how are big brands taking advantage of this opportunity?

Millennial owners drive the market

Across both the US and the UK, millennial pet ownership has boomed during COVID-19 lockdowns, with 35% of young adults estimated to own a pet or be thinking about welcoming one into the home. This has the younger consumer group to overtake baby boomers as the biggest pet market influencers. As a result, their values and preferences are driving the latest pet market trends, including:

• Choice: from gluten-free supermarket options to personalised technology, millennial consumers have grown up with a selection of choices being easily available. This means they want a wide selection to choose from when they shop and will seek out specific or niche products.

• Convenience: eCommerce and internet shopping has been the norm for millennials and the preferred option over in-store buying. This has seen online retailers like Amazon see a surge in their sales, including for pet products. It has also seen social media and influencers becoming one of the most effective marketing tactics.

• Conscious buying: getting good value for money, making more sustainable and environmentally-conscious choices are all priorities for millennial buyers. Indeed, aligning purchase choices with brands that share their values is one of the biggest trends in this age group.

• Quality: self-care and personal image are important to millennials. So whether they’re treating themselves or their pet, they are willing to pay more for products that will last or that set them apart as innovators or trendsetters.

Inevitably, as pet ownership has grown within this age group, millennial values and trends have filtered into the pet market. This has led big brands to target millennial customers through pet-specific products, services and marketing.

High-end accessories

As one of the high street’s biggest designer stores, Selfridges now offers an extensive collection of luxury pet accessories. From £330 leather collars to silver-plated pet bowls, the brand is tapping into millennial owners’ desire to give their pets a premium look and lifestyle that matches their own.

Pets have also become a key part of the designer life that Selfridges are marketing to their customers. Sharing user-generated content of cute pets in their products is just one way the brand taps into the millennial pet owner market.

Luxury holidays and pet-friendly experiences

Millennial pet owners don’t want their furry friends to miss out on the experiences they hold so dear, including their holidays. To take advantage of this trend, Hilton Hotels have made 29 of their UK and Irish properties dog-friendly and introduced speciality pet menus for four-legged guests to enjoy.

Made from high-quality ingredients and developed by pet nutrition experts, the meals are also available for room service, meaning pets can enjoy exactly the same luxurious experience as their owners.

Boutique fashion

From New York Fashion Show to high street stores, pet clothing is one of the fastest-growing trends in the sector. Having launched their RI Dog collection back in 2016, River Island is just one of the fashion brands that’s recognised consumers’ desire to make their pets look as good as they do.

Indeed, market insights have shown that owners spend an average of £200 on clothes for their pets, making this a significant opportunity for a range of fashion brands. Even if they don’t offer a specific pet range, a variety of brands from Joules to Missguided are taking advantage of the popularity of pets in their marketing.

Top quality animal actors and models

Whether they’re promoting their pet products or want to make their marketing more attractive to target audiences, hiring the best animal talent is key to these brands’ success. From luxury car makers like Jaguar to supermarket retailers like Aldi, our fantastic team and amazing pet stars are experienced at meeting the briefs of big brands.

With a huge variety of good-looking and well-trained animal actors and models on our books, we can help you to find the perfect pet star to meet your project’s needs and capture your audience’s attention. For more information, call us on 020 8161 6556 or email us at info@urbanpawsireland.com

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