ROCKVILLE, Md. — With "pet humanization" now a multibillion dollar business in America, the push to provide four-legged companions with human-quality products has given rise to an new type of pet owner: the premium pet product shopper, according to U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2014-2015, released Thursday.
A number of pet product manufacturers and retailers have been crediting the humanization trend with driving their business, and premium pet product shoppers will help drive industry growth as the pet market reaches projected sales of $73 billion by the end of 2014.
In force for several years now, the humanization trend has multiple facets. Foremost, it’s a natural expression of the “pets as family” trend, whereby pet owners treat their pets like children and are highly receptive to products similar to the ones they use for themselves. Not coincidentally, many of the services and products entering the market today are directly reminiscent of human fare, no doubt appealing to the pet owner as much as the pet, comments Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle.
Examples include pet supplements like glucosamine and omega 3s; human-grade pet foods containing superfruits or touted as gluten free; and designer pet supplies, including Bottega Veneta pet bowls and Simmons Beautyrest pet beds.
According to Packaged Facts, as many as 70% of pet owners would be willing to spend extra to ensure the wellness of their pet. Likewise, close to one-third of pet product buyers (30%) agree that “I prefer to shop at pet product retailers that offer the best products available, even if they are more expensive.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, premium pet product shopping is most common among higher-income households. U.S. households earning $70,000 or more account for 54% of the aggregate pet market expenditure, and Packaged Facts believes these consumers to be footing the lion’s share of the bill for premium pet products and services. Generally speaking, better-off pet owners are also more likely to have been less affected by economic doldrums and are recovering more quickly.