New pet care products needed for a new kind of pet owner

The data shows that pet owners are changing the way they shop. Which pet care product categories are getting it right when meeting the needs of a new kind of pet owner?

Late last year, we conducted a small study to find out exactly what pet owners were looking for when it came to products for their pets. After analyzing the responses, one thing we found is that many spare no expense on pampering their pets, choosing fresh, healthy foods, and buying treats and toys for their furry family members. In fact, the pet care market has experienced huge recent growth due to a variety of reasons, including people spending more time with pets during the pandemic and pet humanization trends.

So, which pet care product categories are getting it right when meeting the needs of a new kind of pet owner? 

Fresh, direct-to-consumer food options

This booming segment for pet food is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of more than 25% over the next few years. This is in line with our research, which indicated that 63% of those who have recently switched food brands, have chosen fresh products (e.g. refrigerated or frozen) as a healthier option for their pets. There are a wide number of players in this vertical, including brands like The Farmer’s Dog, Nom Nom, Just Food for Dogs, and others. 

Eco-friendly dog food brands

Many consumers choose products that reflect their own values, and that same premise is true in the dog food category. An eco-friendly or sustainable food brand can tick even more boxes for a consumer who is looking to shop based on their own values AND choose a healthier food option for their dogs. One study indicates that dog ownership is equivalent to “owning a large SUV” as far as environmental impact, and for owners looking to reduce their footprint, choosing the right food is important. Foods that forego reliance on cheap meats and have more sustainable packaging appeal to some pet owners, who seek out brands such as Wild Earth or Beco Pets. 

Multi-purpose healthy treats

There is no shortage of variety in the pet treat market, featuring everything from freeze dried meats and longer-lasting chews to crunchy biscuits and small, soft training bits. One treat line that receives consistent kudos is Greenies, dental treats with natural ingredients that claim to clean teeth and gums and freshen breath. With many people choosing to buy treats for their dogs (our study showed over 30%) and also wanting healthy options, Greenies and other dental treats remain popular among pet care owners.

Toys and toy subscriptions

This highly competitive segment is seeking market share from the $2.5 billion that U.S. consumers are spending on pet toys every year. Classic toys like the Kong remain popular, but many households are now turning to toy subscriptions to keep their dogs entertained. Recognizable brands like BarkBox, which also includes food products, have been joined by toy specific subscriptions like Bullymake with toys for “power chewers” and Pupbox for playful dogs. 

As more people add pets to their households, and spend significant money on top-notch care and products, the pet care industry will continue its rapid growth trajectory. Pet care brands that do the right kind of consumer research to understand what pet owners are seeking, and what values translate into their pet product shopping decisions, can capture heightened market share in a competitive space. 

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