Pet food sales in decline, claims new Mintel report
A new 'Lifestyle' report into consumer trends by market research specialist Mintel claims that pet food sales are in decline, and it blames demographic changes for a 'stagnating' market.
The company believes an ageing population are less likely to own a pet, and a growing number of people renting their homes are prohibited from pet ownership.
After decades of the number of dogs and cats in Britain increasing (from an estimated 4.7m dogs and 4.1m cats in 1965 to 9m dogs and 7.9m cats in 2014), a Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association survey last year found a fall to 8.5m dogs and 7.4m cats last year.
These stats are based on a relatively small sample, but the trend is mirrored in other affluent, English-speaking countries: dog and cat ownership in the United States, Canada and particularly Australia all seem to be in decline.
“Older people – more than a third of us will be over 55 in the next five years – don’t tend to have really high pet ownership,” says Ina Mitskavets, a senior analyst for Mintel. “The market is driven by families with kids, who tend to have the most pets per household.”
Peak Stuff – the preference for experiences over possessions – may also be reducing the appeal of pets.
“I’ve recently got a couple of kittens,” says Mitskavets, “and my life has completely changed. So I can understand it’s a huge commitment, and a lot of people shy away from commitments these days because the pace of life is so incredible.”
Commitment-phobia is also cited by Marc Abraham, the TV vet and animal welfare campaigner.
“People are reluctant to commit to pet ownership, especially dogs, because they require walking twice a day and live to 15 years old. That’s a huge commitment, and we want to go on lots of holidays,” he says.
“Maybe the human need for companionship is being delivered now more by social media than getting a pet.”