The Pet Pound

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When planning a new kitchen, 12% of homeowners take their dog into consideration.  This is probably our favourite fact coming out of our recent research into kitchen purchase behaviour.

The humanising of pets, and in particular dogs, is a fast growing trend in the UK and research by Mintel has revealed some interesting statistics which show that humanising pets is a key theme running through the pet care industry, with consumers making adjustments to their daily lives to accommodate pets as part of their families. For example

  • 21% of pet owners either have used or would be interested in trying restaurants with special pet menus.
  • On average, British pet owners spend £34 on pet food and treats monthly. Thus expenditure on pet food could run at £405 a year.
  • The demand for travelling with pets is high; almost four in 10 pet owners feel guilty leaving their pet behind when they go on holiday.
  • A third of owners buy their pets a Christmas present.
  • Over a quarter of pet owners admit they like to pamper their pets and women in particular find it hard to pass by a new toy or a treat even if they did not plan on buying it (46%)
  • Half of people who own dogs or cats are interested in monitoring their pets while they are out with half of pet owners aged 16-34 interested in pet TV to amuse pets.
  • 7% of pet owners have bought clothing for their pets in the past 12 months.
  • Companionship (57%) is the biggest reason for getting a pet, and this rises further to 69% amongst people living on their own.

Source: Mintel

According to the Telegraph, Britains now spend approximately £450m each year taking their pets on holiday. A third of owners now holiday with their pet and spend an additional £126 on average to keep their pet by their side when they travel. This trend has led to the proliferation of pet-friendly hotels and holiday cottages, and companies such as budget airline, Ryanair, to announce that they are looking into allowing pets to travel in the passenger cabin.

Euromonitor claims the opportunities to capitalise on the humanisation of pets are vast and has identified three different types of cash-splashing pet owners:-

  • Mainsteam humanisers who account for about two thirds of pet owners, opt for reliable premium brands “that convey an indulgent feel”.
  • Anti-humanisers, who choose smaller, ethical brands over large corporations and are most likely to put their pets on wild, raw or organic diet, account for 20-30 percent of pet owners
  • Extreme humanisers, who make up roughly 5pc of pet owners, tend to be high-spending urban-dwellers who value status, fashion and exclusivity and see their pet as a personal accessory or a substitute for a child. This group are most likely to buy their pets designer outfits, crystal encrusted drinking bowls, exercise activities and extreme grooming treatments

With the dog population in the UK reaching 8.5  million and 24% of households owning at least one dog (Source PFMA), articles are being featured in many of the top interior design magazines such as Elle Decoration  showing readers how to do ‘pet-friendly and stylish at home’.

Changes in social behaviours are just some of the reasons behind this key trend. People are living in increasingly ‘dehumanized’ societies, there are more single person households than ever before, and owning a pet is a way of staving off the loneliness this creates.  Also, couples are delaying marriage and their first child,  and often chose pets to display their love and affection.

The USA has historically been the model which has led the trends in the UK pet care market and whilst the more conservative UK market may currently be outraged at the extent to which the US humanises their pets, it is a strong indication where the future lies for pets in the UK and the UK consumer will continue to spend more and more money on their pets.


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