Consumer spending in the United States pet market has been forecast increase by 4.7% this year, reaching a value of approximately $62 billion by the end of 2013.
Although the country has not yet completely emerged from its economic funk, the pet industry continues to perform. Pet product shoppers were not immune to the Great Recession's effects, but the most recent Pet Owners Survey shows that they are becoming less price sensitive than in years past, a trend borne out in the sales data.
Sales in mass channels such as grocery stores have been relatively flat, but pet owners have continued to migrate to pet specialty channels, which focus more on the high-end market.
More than ever, pets are considered a part of the family. Along with that, the share of the family budget allocated to pet-related spending continues to grow at a healthy rate.
During the past few years, spending has focused on value for money. However, in 2012, the industry saw discretionary spending on products and services increase substantially.
According to a recent market report, 'U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2013-2014,' the largest sector in the industry is veterinary services and pet food, both of which are forecast to reach sales of $21 billion by the end of 2013.
However, non-medical pet services--a smaller category that includes grooming, boarding, training, and pet sitting/walking services--is growing at the fastest rate, at 6% annually.
While dogs account for two-thirds of sales in the overall pet products and services market, they are showered with 90% of the spending in this non-medical services category.
One area to watch is the cat-related services sub-category. For the past several years, many cat owners have scaled back their visits to the vet, likely spurred by a change in vaccination protocols from annually to every three years.
Now, some veterinary hospitals are taking measures to be more feline-friendly and lure back these lapsed clients. Strategies include recommending twice-annual preventive care visits, designating separate waiting and examination areas for dogs and cats, training staff for improved cat handling and coaching clients on lower-stress cat transports.
Across the pet products and services market, pet health has proven to be a particularly successful sales driver. As the pet population has aged, the interest by big players such as Bayer and Perrigo has increased. In addition, Pfizer's spinoff of its animal health division, now renamed Zoetis, received considerable attention from investors.
For mroe information on the US pet market, see the latest research: US Pet Market
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