February 27, 2023
The veterinary industry is complex and among the most competitive globally. The number of consumers needing veterinarian services is growing and the landscape of animal health and welfare is ever-changing, with more pet owners looking for high-quality products to optimize the health of their pets. Here are 6 trends that are helping to shape the future of veterinary services.
Lockdown-Fueled Pet Ownership Rise
The loneliness and boredom that many people experienced during lockdown prompted a rush of people wanting a pet to pass the time with. While some of the households that brought pets home during this time have since rehoused those animals after going back to the office, there was still a rise in pet ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic that has carried over, post-pandemic.
Smart Pet Gadgets
Pet products powered by technology are everywhere and are making being a pet owner a little easier for consumers. Companies like Petcube, which has introduced a camera that attaches to a pet collar which allows the owner to view a live-streamed account of what is happening at home, including a pet’s everyday activities. Other ‘smart’ pet products include feeders that deliver food items straight into a bowl and trackers that help owners find pets who have wandered away from home.
According to the American Veterinarian Medical Association, it is estimated that there are 21 million households with pets in the U.S. alone. If companion animals were thrown into the mix, that number would be closer to around 23 million. This has created a vast market for pet-friendly homes as people are looking for housing that allows them to live with their pets. A recent study by the American Pet Products Association revealed that there was an 8% increase in the sale of pet-related products in 2021, including pet food, toys, accessories, etc, which may be attributed to this trend of consumers choosing pet-friendly housing options for their homes and offices.
The Rising Market for Exotic Pets
Not to be outdone by cats and dogs, there is also a growing market for pets that are a little out of the ordinary, like birds, snakes, and even spiders. Because these animals are more low-maintenance than cats and dogs, this category of pet has become more popular with higher-income consumers. The American Pet Products study mentioned above also found that 12.2% of American households currently care for one or more types of pet in addition to a dog or a cat, an increase from 10.8% over the last five years. This data points to a robust market for a wider variety of household pets.
Adopt, Don’t Shop Campaigns
A recent study by the National Pet Alliance revealed that there are more than 10 million pets in shelters across the U.S. But even with that staggering number of pets waiting to be adopted, most people still buy pets instead of adopting them from shelters. To reverse this trend, there have been several awareness campaigns launched in recent years encouraging people to adopt their pets instead of shopping for them at pet stores. These campaigns have included adoption drives at local shelters, which often waive or drastically reduce adoption fees for the duration of the drive, as well as social media campaigns.
Wellness Isn’t Just for Humans
Wellness, specifically in the form of vitamins and probiotics, is becoming more common for pets, as their owners look for ways to keep their furry friends as healthy and happy as possible. The pet supplement industry is growing and veterinarians are helping owners learn more about how to be more intentional in the care of their pets, beyond yearly checkups and feeding them the right food. Even other health issues, like anxiety and stress, are on the radar of pet owners, as they seek advice from their veterinarians on products like CBD supplements. Relatively new on the market for pets, CBD supplements come in the form of oils and chews and can help alleviate anxiety and chronic pain in cats and dogs.
Keeping up with consumer trends is crucial for every industry. Veterinarians have many challenges to navigate in their daily practices, but staying in the loop with what consumers want and need will allow veterinarians to give their clients higher-quality advice and build deeper and longer-lasting relationships with them.
Read more about consumer trends on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from veterinarians and pet owners. Our online panels are made up of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty online panels here.