How to Market to the Right Pet Owners
I recently touched on the importance of finding and narrowing your marketing efforts to reach your ideal target market. This is a fantastic way to gain an advantage no matter what industry you’re working in, but what about the pet business specifically?
In 2019, Americans are estimated to spend more than $75 billion dollars on pet-related products.
That figure has doubled in just the past 14 years, and all evidence shows that it will only keep increasing. With more than half of the country being pet owners, an interest in pet products is something that spans across age, sex, income, and geographic location, but there are absolutely consumers who statically tend to spend more and therefore should be a larger part of your marketing focus.
Older Gen Z and younger Millennials are the biggest spenders overall, with the willingness to spend generally decreasing with consumer age. The generational differences are perhaps best explained by not only the propensity of younger adults holding out on having children longer than their predecessors, but also as a result of growing up in households where Fido was seen as a “part of the family” vs. simply a pet or merely a utilitarian animal as many in older generations grew up viewing them.
Younger adults are also more likely to adopt than previous generations, so while their average spending on live animals is significantly less than older pet owners who prefer to buy from breeders, the spending for training an older dog with potential behavioral issues tends to be higher than basic puppy training.
The younger-skewing demographics may mean that it’s time to shift your marketing efforts to more social media-focused outreach with an emphasis on videos, tutorials, and shareable content.
The differentiation of spending between states is astronomical. While dog owners almost universally spend more than cat owners, it’s the smaller pets like gerbils, birds, and reptiles whose monthly costs often blow the more commonly thought of “best friends” out of the water.
East coast states and places like Ohio and Texas have unusually high spending on some of the more ‘unusual’ or exotic pets, while Idaho in particular keeps it extremely frugal.
Be sure to research demographic data for your state to better narrow what kind of pet products you should keep in your inventory.
What They’re Buying
Businesses that sell high quality food and supplies have an opportunity to snag a share of one of the biggest areas of pet spending (after veterinary care), but those who only specialize in the niche training, grooming, or boarding space are divvying up a far smaller percentage of spending.
Some unexpected “supplies” that people are eager to spend on are Halloween costumes for pets. The figures surpassed $400 million last year (apparently pet owners love seeing their furry friends dressed as pumpkins).
So even if your business is just training or grooming-based…
…consider selling your preferred and recommended food, treats, leashes, brushes, or toys by the register.
- Men spend more than women on pets
- However, married couples spend the most
- Homeowners spend more than renters
- Overall, pet owners living in the suburbs spend more than those living in rural or metropolitan areas
Pet business owners are lucky (or smart) to work in an industry with such an upward trend and market need. You can capitalize on this and grow your business by researching local demographics, diversifying your product offering if your business is too niche, and freshening up your marketing strategies to reach a younger audience.