Growth Continues for Pet Industry in Face of Shifts & Challenges

Last week I experienced first-hand just how alive and well the pet industry is during SuperZoo, the annual pet industry trade show established by World Pet Association. My time there was spent connecting with both experts and newcomers discussing the growth they’re seeing as well as the shifts being experienced and how the industry is handling them.

Headshot of K&R Principal Ed Yuhas

Despite the challenges of the last 18 months, measurable growth is happening within the industry. While there are considerable hurdles in the supply chain, the enthusiasm for the success of the industry and what is to come was evident at the event.

Pet ownership increased 3 percent last year according to industry research, which translates to roughly 70 percent of American households now owning a pet of some kind. This all-time high naturally translates to an increase in pet food expenditures, which were up 11 percent last year.

Beyond the year-over-year growth, the demographics of pet ownership have changed. Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest pet owner group in the United States.

Between the amount of time spent in their homes under significant restrictions and the resulting change in the workplace landscape due to the pandemic, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is the case. More Millennials than ever are working hybrid or fully remote schedules these days, which means they have more time to spend with a pet. In addition, more Millennials are electing to spoil Fido instead of marrying or buying homes. In fact, nearly 70 percent of this group opted to indulge their pets by purchases premium and organic pet food.1

The industry continues to evolve to better connect with its customers. Under the mantra that “anything marketable to humans can be marketed to pets,” pet industry companies are tailoring unique products for an owner’s enjoyment as much as for the pet’s.

I spent a fair amount of time winding through the new product section as well as meeting with some of the early-stage companies in the incubation center to get a better idea of where the industry is going. Products like specialized dog birthday cake and ice cream mix, special dairy nutrition options for sensitive stomachs and even a snack option similar to a Lunchable for dogs that contained peanut butter dip and biscuits made it very clear that the industry is taking that mantra seriously.

This industry needs professionals who can think on their feet while being innovative and efficient now more than ever to help combat the obstacles being faced. From research and development to commercialization and distribution, professionals in this industry and many others must be analytical and strategic to get ahead and stay ahead. Our search professionals utilize deep industry knowledge, high-quality data, and strong connections to identify differential leaders for our clients. If you’re looking for a search partner who can help you find your next leader, we would be happy to connect with you.

1  22 Fascinating Pet Industry Statistics & Facts for 2021”, Petpedia