Pampering Pets = Parenting Practice, Say Millennials
Not long ago, it would have seemed absurd to spend lavishly on your pet, or to have an Instagram account dedicated entirely to your pet. Fast forward to 2018 and it's no longer considered a ridiculous notion to do either of these things; in fact, both practices are now quite common among Millennial pet owners.
As Millennials wait longer to have children, many of them are "practicing" the art of caring for another living being via the active role of “pet parent”. They find enjoyment in bringing their pet with them wherever they go, whether to the office, a restaurant, or even flying off to business or vacation destinations. Millennial pet parents observe that their pets find pleasure in this constant togetherness as well, encouraging them to do more and more for their furry friends.
Millennials love and cherish their pets as members of the family, and the pet industry is benefiting from this as a result, seeing significant growth in the purchase of all pet-related products, from gourmet pet food and pet apparel to pet pampering and the use of pet-related tech.
Although 2018 might be the year of the Dog on the Chinese calendar, for pet marketers and investors looking to take advantage of the surge in pet products, this is the year of the Pet.
Millennials are now the largest demographic of pet owners, with 38% of their age group owning pets, compared to 35% of Baby Boomers. According to the market research firm IbisWorld, the pet industry market is now $63 billion, up 22% in the past 5 years. These numbers are increasing at a sharp and steady rate, capturing the interest of marketers and investors who are keen to jump into the action while it's hot.
Brands Take Advantage of Millennials Love of Pets
An assortment of emerging brands and pet products are rapidly changing the pet industry with higher-end products such as farm-to-table food, personalized care, clothing, and tech-infused collars. This industry growth is fueled by the fact that customization for the Millennial pet owner is key, delivered in the form of products that differentiate a pet's care from the rest of the pack.
Larger pet companies are jumping at the opportunity to snatch up smaller pet companies that pose competition. This is especially true for brands that provide value through high-end items and a wide variety of options, which Millennials enjoy spoiling their pets with.
Millennials are concerned about their pet's wellness, having higher expectations of ensuring that their pets are happy and healthy. Subsequently, pet insurance is one of many industry sectors where Millennials are spending more than previous generations.
Millennials are caring for their pets on a whole new level, making sure that their pets get the best care without breaking the bank; purchasing pet insurance enables them to do that. There are currently 1.8 million insured pets in the United States according to IbisWorld, and that number is only expected to rise.
Millennials Ignite Pet Technology Boom
With a steady increase in the pet industry over all, it’s no surprise that investors are following this trend and looking for lucrative investment opportunities. According to CB Insights, investors spent $486 million between 2012 to 2016 in the pet technology area.
New pet technology businesses are booming financially with niche products and services that meet a pet owner’s needs. A couple of brands that are taking advantage of the pet craze are The Farmer’s Dog, selling high-quality dog food, and Rover, which connects pet owners with dog walkers and various other pet-related service providers.
Food conglomerate Mars, owner of Pedigree, Whiskas, and several other pet food lines, has created a division in pet technology called Connected Solutions. Pet trackers and a pet DNA lineage service are just a couple of the ventures coming out of Connected Solutions.
According to CB Insights data, 2016 heralded a couple of very noteworthy pet-tech deals. The first, BarkBox, which is a subscription-based service for pet toys and treats, raised $60 million that year, with a total of $82 million in funding raised by early 2017. And previously mentioned Rover raised $40 million that year, up to $90.9 million by Q1'18. The numbers demonstrate that there are approximately 11 deals in pet tech occurring each quarter with the majority of investments in the early stages as seed/angel and Series A funding.
Opportunity is Everywhere
Pets are on every marketer’s mind, proven by the fact that even non-pet-centered brands are taking advantage of the pet craze to win over Millennial consumers. Clothing, car, and insurance companies represent just a few of the industries incorporating pets into their ads, keenly aware that Millennials are drawn to pets naturally: in advertising campaigns, cute imagery used throughout boutique brands' web design, cuddly social media posts, and the like.
The travel industry is taking advantage of this trend, welcoming pets into their hotels by offering services geared specifically for pets and pet owners. Pet services range from personalized TV, music, pool time, acupuncture, and even a webcam which allows owners to keep an eye on their fur kids while away.
Brands are not just selling products and services to pet owners but offering an experience that enhances the well-being and lifestyle of a Millennials’ beloved pets. And despite the hefty price tag on products geared to pamper one’s pets, Millennials are not shying away from spending the cash, as long as it allows their pets to thrive.
Clearly, more so than ever before, Millennials' love of their pets translates to financial opportunity for brands across a wide range of market specialties; without a doubt, opportunity is everywhere.