How Millennials are Shaping the Future of the Pet Care Industry
Pet ownership is on the rise in the US, with the market being valued at $86.7 billion in 2018—a 6% increase from the prior year—and is estimated to grow an additional 28% until 2023. And Millennials are some of the biggest drivers behind this industry growth.
As Millennials wait later to have children, or decide not to have any children, pets are playing a more significant role in their lives, resulting in their willingness to spend more discretionary income on pampering their pets with products, technology, and experiences. Money is no object when it comes to keeping people happy and giving them a chance to enjoy their companion animal’s company for as long as possible.
Below we’ve outlined four areas in which Millennials are elevating the pet care conversation.
Customization: Bring Your Furry Friends.
Over time the role of pets has evolved, particularly for Millennials who are now seeing their pets akin to children and friends. The result in the market is a higher demand for pet-friendly products and shared experiences that were formerly exclusive to human consumption. This has meant certain changes in policy and more overall acceptance toward furry friends in a variety of industries and retail sectors.
For places like pet-friendly hotels, bars, and retailers, the benefit is mutual for both owners and proprietors. Customers can share an experience with their fur babies, and the retailers will often receives free promotion via social media. One example of this is Nordstrom, which not only welcomes well-behaved furry friends but launched a #dogsofnordstrom tag on Instagram.
Though they face trickier regulations surrounding health, safety, and zoning, cat and dog cafes can now be found in most major cities around the world. They not only create shared experiences for owners and their companions, but also allow an opportunity to participate in charitable experiences, as partnering with local shelters, either via donations or hosting adoption events.
Lifestyle Enhancement: Fido, VP of Employee Recruitment.
Millennials are shaping the future of the workforce in a variety of ways, but offering pet benefits is creating a cultural shift and having a long-term impact on workforce recruitment and retention.
The Millennial mindset integrates work and play in a way that previous generations hadn’t. Millennials want to be able to make their workspace more like home and having their pets with them is one of the best ways they can accomplish this. Offering pet-friendly offices give companies an opportunity to boost to employee morale and camaraderie, and 90% of workers feel a stronger connection to employers who embrace pet-friendly policies.
Additionally, companies are more frequently offering remote work, which appeals to employees who want to feel less anxious about leaving their pets at home for the workday. Employers can even turn to more unique policies as a way to retain talent, such as in-house pet daycare, pet bereavement leave, and “paw-ternity leave” for new pet parents.
Convenience: Connection at Your Paw-tips.
Millennials are defined as having been born between 1977 and 1994. Whether on the older or younger age of this group, this generation tends to be tech savvier than their Boomer predecessors. This tech-heavy lifestyle extends to Millennials’ pets, with 60% of pet owners acknowledging that technology has useful applications that brings them peace of mind, which explains the rise in popularity of pet tech products.
When they can’t physically be home with their companion animals, they’re connecting to them through technology. Pet technology makes it possible to track and monitor pets’ behavior as well as provide owners with easier, more convenient access to services and products. The result is an plethora of technology options, ranging from cameras and feeders, to litter boxes and doggie doors, all with the intention of providing an opportunity for owners to stay connected to their pets and tend to their needs while they’re away for long periods of time.
Quality: Man’s Healthiest Friend.
Younger generations are tracking their own health and wellness metrics closely, and what they are tracking for themselves, they’re also tracking for their pets. This translates to ensuring better diets by opting for fresher and more customized food from subscription boxes like Pet Plate, which ships specialized, portion-controlled frozen dishes.
Tracking pet wellness also extends to owners’ relationships with their veterinarians. Most veterinarians employ telemedicine services, which can include anything from emails to texts to video conferencing. 85% of owners find these tools appealing and are selecting their vet care specialists based on the availability of those services. Prescriptions and vitamins orders can also be placed online, with services like MixLab, which ships personalized medications and wellness products for pets. These types of services are proving that, for Millennials, health and wellness doesn’t necessarily need to take place in-person.
What do pet brands need to know?
Millennials are shifting the way the pet care industry operates—these ingredient-conscious shoppers are going digital. To provide the best products, care, and overall lifestyle for their pets, Millennials are looking for customization, convenience, quality, and lifestyle enhancement. To navigate the intense competition within this category, brands must prioritize their digital investments to connect with owners—and their pets—on a deeper level.