This is the 5th insights digest from Segmanta’s brand new study, The Big Pet Survey 2020. We surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. pet owners (from July to August 2020) to understand consumer behaviors surrounding their pets, their lifestyle as pet owners, pet-tech usage, social media consumption, and their opinions, emotions, and sentiments as pet owners.
Although the humanization of pets’ is not a new phenomenon, it is redefining the purchasing habits of pet owners in today’s on-demand, digital, and globalized world. From which ingredients go into their daily meals to which leash to wear for an outside stroll, even medical insurance coverage, and mental health care, pets have to have their needs taken care of in all aspects of life. Consumers are willing to spend lots of money to make sure their precious pets get to enjoy a high quality of life just like their human owners.
In the U.S., Millennials have now replaced Baby Boomers to become the largest consumer group, according to Pew Research, while almost 85 million U.S. households have pets. With many Millennial pet owners delaying marriage and having kids, many see their pets as family members or even their “first-born children”. Gen Z-ers, the majority of whom recently entered adulthood, are raising pets in order to become more responsible and to prepare for family life. In short, pet owners, especially younger generations, are eager to go out of their way to please their adorable pets who bring them so much love, care, and joy.
Our survey results explain the way in which owners are keen on spoiling their dogs and cats and how this might affect consumer behaviors.
Human-Grade Pet Food Takes The Stage
As mentioned in our previous article regarding pet food preferences, many owners are conscious of their pets’ dietary wellness. Our study found that 43% of pet owners make or purchase healthy and/or organic pet food for their dogs, while 32% do so for their cats. Additionally, pet food brands are using new buzzwords to draw in Millennials, such as “human-grade food”, containing ingredients or nutritional elements that are suitable for human diets, “gourmet” and “organic”.
Not only are the ingredients in pet food becoming more aligned to human diets, but also pet food brands are creatively coming up with new concepts such as wine for cats and beer for dogs. Apparently dogs are transitioning from “Best Friend” to “Best Happy Hour Buddy”
360° Healthcare For Pets
According to our survey, 65% of pet owners say that most of their pet expenses are spent on vet care. In addition to regular check-ups and routine services (such as vaccination, deworming, spraying, etc.), veterinarian clinics also implant microchips for identification, as well as therapies that are commonly for humans (such as cancer treatment, stem cell therapies, digitalized vet care options (such as fitness trackers for pets), and so forth.
Pet mental health is equally important to their physical wellbeing and is on pet owners’ radar more than ever before, especially after going through home quarantine at the time of COVID-19. As seen in our survey results, 26% of pet owners claim that their pets suffer from anxiety while 9% say their pets regularly experience feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
The majority of respondents (46%) say that their pets came to their family through an agency that fosters adoption, while 26% say that they or a family member unexpectedly found their pet as a stray and decided to adopt. Inevitably, the past experiences of living on the street or in a shelter can cause various traumas to these pets.
Nowadays, pet owners, especially younger generations, understand the significance of balancing the physical and mental health of pets and acknowledge how pets selflessly and continuously heal them with love and companionship.
Pet Insurance Is A New Work Perk
We are seeing society as a whole in support of better pet care and the emergence of a society where pets are more involved in human day-to-day lives. Pet-friendly workspaces are already the norm in many modern businesses, aiming to improve employees’ productivity and alleviate their stress from work. Today, on top of meal credits, gym memberships, and vacation days, some companies offer pet insurance as one of the newest perks to court great talents.
According to our survey results, only 10% of pet owners have purchased pet insurance for their dogs or cats. However, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, this number is expected to rapidly increase based on an upwards trend seen since 2017. As more pet owners redefine what “family” means to them, their precious pets certainly count as important members that can benefit from high-quality healthcare coverage.
Extended Adventure Time With Pets
As our quality of life improves, pet owners do not want their lovely furry companions to miss out on all their adventures. Nowadays, professional services (such as airline pet relocation services) and products such as special carriers for pets and, safety belts for car rides) made it possible to safely travel with pets.
At home, pet owners dedicate their money, effort, and time in establishing a comfortable environment for their cats and dogs. Some pampered pups and kitties even own fully-equipped “villas” and “mazes” in their yards.
Pet owners, especially younger generation owners, want to share meaningful life events with their dogs and cats with their friends and family. 67% of pet owners claim that they celebrate their pets’ birthdays while nearly 30% dress up their pets to the nines for special occasions such as Halloween, public holidays, and weddings.
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A spoiled lifestyle might not be necessary for pets, but it certainly brings a great number of opportunities for pet industry marketers. Because of the wish to pamper pets, many industries such as pet grooming, pet fashion, and pet tech are thriving like never before. In our next declarative consumer insights blog post, we will explore how technology changed pet ownership and its impact on businesses to provide better pet care.