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Festivals, fashion and four-legged friends set to push the pet sector’s profits

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Crufts, the world’s largest dog show, kicks off tomorrow, placing pampered pooches in the spotlight for its 124th anniversary. This year the pet industry has more reason to celebrate, as indulging owners are going to new extremes to spoil their four legged friends in the UK and US.

When Retail Gazette last looked at the industry in December, the pet industry as a whole was taken into consideration. However, with further expansions, the sector is seeing improvements per individual category. AStar, a mid range to luxury pet retailer saw its sales of apparel grow a staggering 5,537% from Q2 - Q4, with pooch fashion becoming the fastest growing sector in the company.

Strong results can be put down to the Christmas boom, as (human) festive jumpers saw a 200% increase from 2013 in the UK. The pet industry also got in on the trend with Asda, Primark, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer all having their own renditions of the miniature jumpers.

In the US, Marketresearch.com found that 30% of pet owners are not concerned with the price of goods but look for the best products available, as US pet owners will spend an average of $11,000 on each pet in its lifetime. This is not surprising after a recent survey by DogVacay highlighted that 75% of people in the US would rather snuggle with their pets than their partners. The figures indicate that pets have become more than a domesticated animal, they have become part of the family and with this require more than just walking and feeding.

“The industry continues to expand as pet owners continue to become ‘Pet Parents’, spending more of their household budget on the well-being of their pets and making them part of the family” Chris Webster, Co-Founder and CEO of Astar pets said.

New York Fashion Week saw 150 canines take to the ‘dog walk’ for the 11th edition of the New York Pet Show. Similar to their human counterparts, the four legged models donned the latest in the folk fashion trend, with a 60’s and 70’s theme. February’s Rio de Janeiro also saw crowds of owners celebrating with their cartoon clad dogs. The pooches got into character in Wonder Woman, bumblebee and ladybird costumes.

Pet owners want to involve their furry friends in all aspects of their day to day life, and savvy retailers are capitalising on this new consumer demand. Festivals have played a big part for buyers this year, with many pet stores focusing on cartoon costumes and pet camping gear.

Astar Pets, the largest online retailer in the pet product marketplace, has brought out a Glastonbury compact bed and bowls, so that owners don’t have to turn down this year’s festivals. Healthy ‘dog beer’ is available for four-legged critters and fancy dress attire sticks to the celebratory theme.

According to Marketresearch.com, 32% of dog owners take their pets with them if they are going away for two or more nights. Therefore, camping gear and festival attire are a must for pet product stockists who want to capitalise where possible.

Sales for industry giant Pets at Home rose 11.2% last year to £665.4m. According to research group Conlumino, the strength of the industry is set to prosper over the next five years. Between 2014 and 2019 the pet care industry is predicted to grow by 43.6% to £496.2m, while the sector overall is worth £4bn. In order to make the most of these predictions, retailers must move with the times and provide owners with the luxuries they too enjoy.

Published on Wednesday 04 March by Rachel Gee

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