By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA
According to the 2017-2018 American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of U.S. households own a pet. This equates to 84.6 million homes with pets that need to be cared for. While dogs and cats are by far the most popular, birds, fish, reptiles and more make pet care a booming business! The APPA reports the average annual growth rate in the pet industry since 2002 is 5.4% and estimates over $69 billion in sales for 2017.
Some of the reasons for this growth include demographics, a strong economy and the understanding that pets are good for our health. Boomers and millennials are the two demographic groups that strengthen the pet industry. Baby boomers are filling their empty nests with pets and they love to pamper them. While millennials tend to think of pets more like humans than animals and also enjoy spoiling them. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation (HABRI), scientifically-documented benefits of pet ownership include decreased blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and enhanced feelings of well-being. Though the results are preliminary, a HABRI study has indicated a potential $11.7 billion savings to the US healthcare system that can be tied to pet ownership. Understanding the health connection and issues that are important to pet owners can assist your store with creatively engaging these households. Here are some potential opportunities:
The bottom line is most pet owners treat their animals like family. By taking care of these furry friends you grow strong customer relationships that lead to incredible loyalty.