Like all customer-facing businesses, the pet industry has faced significant disruption in the midst of a global pandemic. However, unlike the many sectors which have seen substantial losses, the pet industry has grown during Canada-wide lockdowns. 21% of pet owners report increased spending on their pets during the pandemic.
“Stay at Home” orders across Canada have many people working from home, staying in on evenings and weekends, and cancelling their travel plans. Who has benefited? Our pets! 70% of pet owners have spent more time with their pets during the lockdowns. (3) The abrupt increase in quality time with our beloved pets has correlated to a rise in spending.
Increased awareness of common health concerns
Many early signs of disease are subtle and easy to miss. With owners spending more time with their pets, they are more likely to catch these early symptoms. Dogs are being walked more, cats are being observed throughout the day as they navigate their domain. There has been a corresponding increase in owners seeking joint supplements, functional foods, and other OTC products for their pets.
Engaged owners want to be part of the medical care of their pets. Many owners are doing their own research and making buying decisions separate from veterinary advice. The OTC market is growing. Pet owners spent $30 billion in vet care in 2019 and $19 billion in over the counter supplements and treatments.
Increased sales of enrichment toys & activities
Many owners are working from home and balancing Zoom meetings with enthusiastic pet cameos. Self-isolation also means fewer trips to the dog park and no training classes or group events. There has been an increase in owners seeking long-lasting chews, stuffable toys, and other activities to entertain their pets.
Astounding growth in online retail
The online pet market has quadrupled since 2013; the pandemic has markedly accelerated this growth. E-commerce is providing what pet owners are looking for:
- Convenience and comfort
- Product information and choice
- Pricing comparisons that make value clear
- Devoted focus on customer relationships (1)
More than a third of Canadian dog or cat owners report that they are buying pet products online more than they used to. Cat and dog food sales have increased by 160% during Covid-19.
More pet owners are turning to technology for their pet-related needs. Apps like Rover.com have become a mainstay for pet-sitting. Uber has launched an UberPet trial for pet-friendly rides. Many trainers are offering online dog training to support pet owners during lockdown. Even veterinary medicine is branching into online care with services like vetster.com.
The pet technology market is, unsurprisingly, dominated by tech savvy millennials. Millennials are now the largest pet owning population at 31% of pet industry customers. E-commerce is projected to have 26% of pet product sales in Canada by 2023.
With more and more Canadian pet owners turning to online options for their pet needs, having a robust digital presence is critical to your success. If you’re looking for ways to increase your online presence and grow your e-commerce business, we can help.
Contact us to learn how we can build your online presence.