When you’re planning your marketing strategy, be sure not to forget the 164 million households that own pets in the U.S. According to The Humane Society of the United States, pet ownership in America is booming, and part of the boom is a change in mindset. More and more, pet owners are treating their pets as if they were children, driving spending on pets that hit nearly $56 billion last year.
Experts see the trend in pet ownership being fueled by young professionals waiting longer to marry and have children, as well as by empty-nesters whose children have grown and left home. Plus, more educated owners with higher incomes have the means to spend more on pet products and services. Just this past Halloween, the National Retail Federation estimated $350 million would be spent on costumes for pets.
Besides costumes for pets, other trends in pet products and services include fitness and diet products and services for pets. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reports 53 percent of dogs in America are overweight or obese. Smart entrepreneurs are jumping in to solve the problem by offering workouts and exercise classes for pets and owners. In addition, caring pet owners have no problem paying more for healthy, low-calorie and/or organic food for their pets.
Demand has also increased for specialized pet services such as dog walking and training, mobile pet washing and pet sitting. These services enable pets to be cared for in their own homes instead of being subjected to the stress of a kennel or dog wash. And speaking of stress, there are even pet therapists or “pet whisperers” who help pet owners worried about their pets’ psyches.
Many of these businesses don’t cost a lot to start, making them great opportunities to explore.