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Three Key Global Consumer Trends in Pet Care for 2024

4/19/2024
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A version of this article originally appeared in Pets International magazine.

Each year, Euromonitor International identifies the top global trends that reflect changing consumer values and behavioural shifts, which significantly impact the business landscape.

Three consumer trends—Value Hackers, Delightful Distractions and Wellness Pragmatists—stand out as the most relevant for the pet care industry in 2024, primarily due to the impact of inflation, pet humanisation and health concerns.

Value Hackers: Pet owners who seek the best deals

In response to high inflation and escalating costs, consumers are resorting to cost-cutting behaviour, striving to "outsmart the system" by adopting more creative approaches to stretch their money further.

They search for alternatives, utilise rewards points for payment and switch to private label and discounters.

47% of global pet owners plan to increase their savings next year

Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2024

This represents an increase from last year when only 44% of pet owners had the same plan. Meanwhile, 36% of pet owners are planning to visit discounters more frequently, and 25% are considering buying more private label products.

Chart showing Pet Owners' Spending and Saving Plans 2023-2024

Retailers such as Felleskjøpet in Norway are incorporating premium options within their private label pet food and product lines to target price-sensitive consumers. Similarly, Pets at Home in the UK offers Wainwright's Superfood, a private label that includes premium options, such as Grass-Fed Beef or Free-Run Duck.

To remain competitive, brands are using targeted discounts, innovating with loyalty programmes, early-bird rates, referral initiatives and complementary services.

According to Euromonitor Voice of the Industry 2023, 68% of professionals said their company explored consumer loyalty programmes, while 55% considered bundled discounts and 49% contemplated discounts for new customers. There is an increasing demand for aggregators such as Petpoints in the UK, which compare the best pet product subscriptions, free sample offers and discounts.

Delightful Distractions: Joy from our furry friends

Consumers feel the urge to escape the burdens of their everyday routines and problems. Pets serve as the best refuge for moments of joy and relief.

71% of pet owners globally treat their pets as beloved members of the family

Source: Euromonitor Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey, fielded January to February 2023

Consequently, in line with the pet humanisation trend, they want to provide them with human-grade products.

Pet care brands have the opportunity to tap into the joy that pets bring their owners with innovative products or services. Benefiting from this trend, cat treats and mixers is expected to be the fastest-growing category in pet care in 2024.

Pet shops are increasingly offering pet services, such as spas, salons, health and wellness centres, swimming pools and studios, providing consumers with new experiences for their beloved animals. For example, Petco's new flagship pet care centre in New York features a stylish grooming salon, veterinary hospital and JustFoodForDogs kitchen in addition to a curated assortment of merchandise.

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Wellness Pragmatists: Demand for functional food expands beyond humans to pets

Consumers are adopting a pragmatic approach to their mental and physical health. Due to the increasing humanisation of pets, this trend is extending to the pet market. Consumers are seeking healthy and functional foods for their pets, aiming to keep them fit and healthy.

Wellness Pragmatists are looking for easy, practical solutions in preventive health that can be seamlessly integrated into daily routines and deliver instant results. Consequently, functional foods—especially pet food supplements—are on the rise, providing health benefits with the highest convenience.

The top claims in pet food mirror those in human food, including high protein content, natural ingredients and being a good source of vitamins

Source: Euromonitor International 

The share of pet products with these claims continues to grow. New processing methods that preserve the nutritional value of food facilitate innovations in frozen products. For instance, Q-Petfood, known for its diverse range of frozen fresh meat products for dogs, is expanding from the Netherlands to the global market to capitalise on this demand.Chart showing Top 10 Healthy Claims in Pet Food 2020/2023

Personalised, nutrient-rich pet meal plans customised to age, health status and lifestyles are another example of industry transformation. VetChip, an AI-based company from Australia, monitors pet health similar to a FitBit or other health wearables for humans, providing owners and vets access to real-time health analytics via the VetChip app.

Strategies for success in the evolving pet care industry

The humanisation of pets and concerns about their health, constrained by price sensitivity, are the primary factors shaping pet care and fuelling new product development. Advancements in these areas foster premiumisation, enabling pet care to remain resilient even during economically challenging times for consumers.

Brands should emphasise additional benefits such as human-grade healthy ingredients to help justify higher prices to consumers who align purchases with their values. Meanwhile, offering special deals and discounts can help maintain a loyal audience among price-sensitive pet owners.

Read our Top Global Consumer Trends 2024 report to discover all six trends that will impact businesses this year.

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