COVID-19 Transmission Myths & Financial Woes of Pet Owners Hit the Pet Industry. Pet Care Slumps by -2.5%
The global market for pet care is expected to slump by -2.5% in the year 2020 and thereafter recover to reach US$255.4 billion by the year 2027 trailing a post COVID-19 CAGR of 5.2% over the analysis period 2020 to 2027. Pet abandonment rates showed a marked spike in early 2020 when fear of COVID-19 was at its peak & misconceptions ran high. Erroneous belief of pets being a potential source of infection was the leading cause of abandonment in addition to financial distress of pet owners. Pet care products declined sharply as a result of the freeze imposed on non-essential products which led to non-availability of pet food, medicines, transportation and closure of veterinary clinics. The dampening effect of the pandemic on the economy is impacting pet humanization. Financially impacted pet owners are giving up pets for adoption. Foster care homes for pets are witnessing increased inflow of abandoned animals. The lockdowns have also resulted in short supplies of premium pet care products forcing consumers to step down to cheaper brands. COVID-19 is also impacting pet sitting/walking and pet grooming services. In contrast to the Great Recession when household spending on pet care grew quickly, most consumers are unlikely to increase spending following COVID-19. In addition, with consumer trading down across brands and channels as well as focusing on bargains, coupons and private labels, the downward pressure on prices will worsen in the coming months.
The market is likely to display variations across regions. While certain regions are anticipated to register slow growth, others are expected to gain from home isolation and seclusion along with pet fostering programs which are helping partially offset the challenges in pet care and spending. While thousands of animals were being abandoned, the period also witnessed adoptions from pet orphanage increase in few countries as a result of growing awareness among isolated people at home about the mental and physical health benefits of pet ownership. Post pandemic, the restoration of economic fundamentals will witness improvement in demand for pet care products. The coming months and years will also witness accelerated transition toward the online platform, providing opportunity for consumers to shop online with minimal contact with humans. The trend is driving market players to turn to digital platforms. Stay-at-home restrictions and social distancing measures are driving online orders. While companies offering non-essential products such as dog walkers, kennels and groomers will continue to struggle, others offering essential products like food and medicine will remain afloat. Pet food and pet health will continue to remain the largest segments within the pet foods market. Growth in the future will be facilitated by the continued shift from traditional foods toward gourmet options, prompting brands to offer innovative products. In addition, the involvement of millennial customers who are willing to purchase organic products and spend on high-end pet hotels will present new growth opportunities.
Like in the pre-virus period, veterinary care will continue to emerge as an increasingly important aspect of pet care. Pet food innovations will revolve around healthy and specialized diet options for pets. For instance, pet foods such as grain-free, raw, fresh, gently-cooked, freeze dried, mixers, treats, and toppers will become popular in the market. Pet food to address health condition of pets such as weight management, digestive problems, renal disorders, and skin sensitivity are already being launched by companies. Pet grooming services such as dog grooming, and bird grooming will rise in prominence. Bird groomers provide services such as maintenance of feathers, trimming of nails and beaks, bird baths as well as help in controlling molting in birds. Pet boarding services will witness high growth as pet ownership becomes humanized and owners focus on safety of pets when they are at work, similar to daycare for toddlers. Mobile pet care services are emerging as a win-win situation for both consumers as well as service providers. Pets are prone to stress when taken to new locations such as hospitals or pet grooming centers, and mobile pet care services provide the required care in familiar surroundings. Mobile pet care services are also cheaper since it requires low capital resources as the model eliminates the need for maintaining a physical location. Even for established pet care centers, the mobile model provides an additional service delivery model to expand their business and increase revenues. The COVID-19 is driving demand for mobile pet care as pandemic induced restrictions on movement of people are encouraging consumers to opt for these services from the comfort of their homes. Competitors identified in this market include, among others,
- 3M Company
- ADM Animal Nutrition
- A. Rieper AG
- AFB International
- Affinity Petcare SA
- Agway, Inc.
- Alcon Industria e Comercio de Alimentos Desidratados Ltda.
- Aller Petfood LLC
- Almo Nature SpA
- Ancol Pet Products Limited