The festive season is the most important time of year for the care and treats category, according to Mars Petcare, which says the sector sees a 13% uplift in care and treats sales during the 12 weeks leading up to Christmas.
“As pets are increasingly considered members of the family, there is a corresponding rise in pet owners who feel a need to include them in seasonal celebrations such as Christmas,” said Roberto De Felice, strategic demand director at Mars Petcare UK.
“As a result, the demand for dedicated festive pet gifts has been reported to have increased by 20% in the past two years, with 75% of owners now considering their pet a family member.”
Mars says this rise is predominately driven by ‘millennials’ (aged 19-38), who are the most prepared to spend more on their animal friends, with 54% of these pet care buyers saying they would prefer to cut back spending on themselves. Research has also found that two in five (40%) of these pet care buyers would spend just as much money on their pet at special events, such as Christmas, as they would on a friend -‘offering a great opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to offer more event-specific products’.
The dog care and treats market is projected to be worth £454m by 2022 (+3.5% growth), with cat C&Ts projected to be worth £137m by then (+3% growth).
“With owners increasingly prepared to indulge their pets more so than themselves, this opportunity for growth is set to expand even wider,” Roberto. “This holiday season, retailers should look to make the most of shoppers’ appetite for treating their pets.
“We know that owners love indulging their pets with super-premium meals or even gifts to show them how much they care and this is especially true at Christmas. However, it’s also the only time of the year when we see new buyers come into the category with 21% of seasonal sales driven by non-pet owners wanting to treat friends and family’s pets. Therefore, it’s important for retailers to stock up on care and treats products and maximise impulse purchases with in-store features.”
With no intention of missing out on this time of year, Mars has developed a series of new seasonal SKUs and is bringing back some festive favourites.