When you’re planning this year’s strategy for your pet business, it’s good to have some idea of what the latest trends are going to be so that you can tailor your products or services to match, says ecommerce consultant Patrick Foster
Jumping on the bandwagon isn’t just about being ‘on trend’, it’s about making money. If you can offer a great product that’s in demand or hugely popular with your customers, it’ll go flying off the shelves (and money will go flying into your bank account). Choose the right trending niche and your profits could be lucrative.
Pet food products get healthier and more human
As a nation, we’re getting more and more health-conscious with our eating habits – just look at the rise in veganism and health-food fads that are circling the internet (we’re looking at you, matcha tea protein shakes).
The same goes for pet food: owners are embracing the concept of ‘clean eating’ for their four-legged companions too. Owners are paying more attention to their furry friend’s diet, opting for food that offers more nutritional value. Owners want to help their pets to live a long and healthy life, maintain a shiny coat and boost their immune systems.
Organic and raw pet food sales are already on the rise, with an emphasis on additive-free, natural options and varied diets.
High-end wet food sales have risen by 7% for dogs and 8% for cats in the last year, and are set to skyrocket in 2019.
Natural pet food brands are popular with offerings of eco-friendly human-grade meat products. London-based Lily’s Kitchen has made a huge name for itself in the last year offering natural pet food alternatives and saw a 36% rise in sales last year.
Globally, we’re also going to see a new direction on pet food offerings, such as DIY semi-home-made meals and fresh home-delivered foods.
More alternative therapies available for pets
It may sound slightly obscure, but alternative therapies are becoming more common for pets as we start to think more about their emotional well-being as well as their physical well-being.
CBD oil (cannabidiol) and hemp-based products are starting to make an appearance in the global pet industry, so if you’re thinking of targeting the US in particular, then this is a trend to keep an eye on in 2019. In the UK, CBD oil products cannot be sold unless they have marketing authorisation.
Mobility-related therapies like massage, acupuncture and chiropractic treatments are also being used, and even aromatherapy de-stressing products.
Ecommerce stores on the rise
Bricks-and-mortar pet shops are having to make a stand against the huge rise in ecommerce pet business.
A combination of factors are contributing to the rise of ecommerce, from the growing numbers of millennial shoppers to the increased ease at which pet food, toys and accessories can be bought online and arrive at your doorstep the next day.
Having an online platform to showcase your products is a way of keeping up with a fiercely competitive market and tailoring your business to customer demand.
The rise of ‘pet tech’
With the increasing integration of tech into our daily routines, it’s no surprise that 2019 will see technology and pet care combined. We’ve already seen this trend start to emerge over the last year with the release of smart toys and pet-tracking devices – and it’s set to skyrocket.
Pet owners are more than willing to invest in tracking devices like GPS collars for their cats. Products like this are great for keeping an eye on a cat’s nightly wanderings. And more importantly, they mean owners can discover their cat’s whereabouts if it doesn’t come home. Much more efficient than sticking ‘lost’ posters to lamp posts.
And for owners who have to spend long hours at the office, there are smart devices like video cameras that can be used to check up on or engage with pets remotely. Brands like Pawbo are selling interactive cameras which include built-in microphones so that owners can watch, listen and chat to their pets while away.
Some products even include a treat dispenser and a light pointer for playing. Health and nutrition apps, ‘Fitbits for dogs’, and ‘tele-health’ apps for communication with vets will also become more integrated in our day-to-day lives.
There’s no doubt about it, pet tech is going to start playing more of a major role in the coming year.
You just need to take a look at Instagram to see that clothes on pets – novelty and otherwise – is a rapidly growing trend, and one that we think we’ll see take off even more in 2019.
For a shining star of an example, check out Doug the Pug’s Instagram account. With a wide range of seasonal fancy-dress costumes or simply loungewear to slob around in at home, it’s not surprising that Doug has accumulated 3.6 million followers. People can’t wait to see what he’s going to appear in next.
Of course, pet clothing is going to range from the practical right across the spectrum. From dog coats for walking in the cold and wet through to the human-fashion-for-dogs (and cats) trend.
If you’re the owner of a pet business, these are the trends to look out for in 2019 – natural food products and pet tech are the strongest areas for growth, and this is where we’re seeing the most interest from owners and the markets which are seeing the most growth.