Thursday 20th February is Love your Pet day. Close on the heels of Valentine's Day, the event gives everyone an excuse to shout about how much they adore their furry friends. Vital Pet Group has been looking at how true love is affecting the pet trade and reports that while volume is slightly down, partly as a result of flat levels of pet ownership, value overall has increased as a result of a general move to premiumisation.
Sales and Marketing Director, Heather McManus (pictured) has been delving into the statistics and says they make interesting reading, "It's fascinating to see the increasing number of premium products that pet owners are buying and how pets are so integral to the family. The market has long talked about the humanisation of pets as an indicator of the longevity and potential profitability of the sector and I think this is just more evidence to back that up. It's clear to me that retailers must reflect this premium positioning and desire for high quality products."
She says that even the staples offer an opportunity, "When it comes to the important drivers of repeat sales, sectors such as dog treats are performing really strongly, while the trade is still accounting for a significant proportion of all dry dog food sales. Independent retailers sell less single serve cat food sales as a proportion of all sales but it does make a significant value contribution and outpaces wet dog food in our sector."
Heather is also keen to point out the pet effect isn't just relevant to families, "Single households are on the increase and projected to hit 10.7 million by 2039, up from around 7.7 million in 2017.* While those households may be less financially secure and tend to spend more of their disposable income, their relationship with their pet will often be particularly valued and therefore could attract more discretionary spend. It is reported that over 90 percent of pet owners in the UK say that owning a pet makes them feel happy.** A further 88 percent feel that pet ownership improves their overall quality of life.
"The strong love we feel for pets and the extent to which we value our relationship with them is one of the reasons that the pet trade is considered relatively recession-proof and all indicators are that for all sectors of the population that we will continue to seek out quality and innovation in pet products to enhance their wellbeing."
To celebrate Love your Pet Day Vital will be creating social media posts for retailers to share on their own platforms. They can be shared direct from the Vital Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/vitalpettrade/) or Vital customers can request them from their personal Internal Account Manager.
Retailers can find out the latest news and updates, including bad weather alerts, from Vital at www.vitalpets.co.uk or on the company's social media platforms.