The American Pet Products Association (http://www.americanpetproducts.org/) reported this year that 62% U.S. Households (roughly 71.4 million homes) own a pet. U.S. Census indicates 46 percent of U.S. Households credited to the aging of population and fertility patterns changes have a child under 18. Pets are replacing kids, thus have a new role in society.
Thanks to the pet ownership boom, it is estimated that $45.4 billion will be spent by pet owners on everything from food, supplies, vet care, grooming, etc., making pet-spending one of the top ten retail segments, bigger than toys, candy or hardware. No longer are people buying regular pet food. Instead they are purchasing gourmet, vegetarian, low-carb and organic food for their animals. Superrich dog owners then use pet teeth-whiteners, breathe fresheners before they put on designer sweaters/jewelry prior to putting their companion in a special car seat for a ride over to their local grooming salon. Yes, thanks to pet pampering, numerous services have cropped up, everything from doggy/feline daycare, luxury hotels in lieu of kennels with the latest trend being the launch of Pet Airways (http://petairways.com/) where owners fly their pets in comfort so they can rendezvous with them at their favorite vacation spot.
As I reported in my last blog, pet owners are even taking to social media to connect with other pet fans, learn about products and services via blogging. There are numerous pet training blogs with tips from masters and amateurs, as well as recommended weight loss programs. Even blogs, like Romeo the Cat have been developed to raise money to help shelter animals find appropriate homes.
In the past, kids where utilized as an emotional anchor in advertising. Now look for pets, specifically dogs placed in non-pet orientated traditional media to play on consumers emotions. I remember the Michelin tire ad with a baby sitting in the middle of a tire communicating family safety. Recently I viewed two ads on television – Travelers Insurance and Bud Light Lime that used dogs in spots normally void of pets. Cannon was one of the first companies to pioneer this advertising strategy with Martina Sharpova and her dog Dolce for PowerShot cameras. Remember? YouTube links: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFR1HrNDewM),
Marketing gurus take note – in the future 441.8 million pets will be influencing America’s pet loyal consumers and their purchasing power.