Pet Care Marketing: How Trends Provide Growth Opportunities

Successful pet care marketing means watching current pet care trends, as pet owner desires and behaviors continue to change fast.

An apparent immunity to economic downturns, rapid growth, and a rising share of sales from eCommerce made the pet supply market one of the shining stars of the past year. Still, as Common Share punned, some pet care marketing services still face dog-eat-dog competition as the biggest players capture the lion’s share of business.

For just a few examples: 

  • PETCO and PetSmart took in almost half of all total revenue in 2019.
  • Amazon penetrated the online market with its own white-label pet products.
  • Large retailers, like Walmart and Target, increased their online presence.

Still, plenty of smaller DTC and distributors have pulled off some amazing wins with excellent product development, on-the-nose pet product branding, and catering to hot trends. Look at the top pet product trends from the perspective of a pet care marketing agency to find high-growth opportunities in this expanding market.

A data technology company called SPINS reported upon the hottest pet trends in 2020. For a general tip about pet product branding, they said that companies that convinced customers they truly cared about pets and their owners had the best chance to thrive in the current environment.

Otherwise, these are specific niches that have performed well recently:

  • Natural products: These days, consumers don’t just lean towards choosing natural products for themselves. They also want to provide their pets with wholesome, natural food, toys, supplements, and remedies. As an example, hemp supplements for pet anxiety have grown increasingly popular.
  • Custom products: In addition to offering their furry or feathered friends a more natural diet, pet owners want to choose products specifically tailored for their own pet’s needs. For instance, they may seek different dog food products for puppies or kittens, overweight dogs or cats, or elderly pets.
  • Unique items: Besides custom products like bespoke food, some retailers did well with unique items that caught customer’s attention. Some examples included pet portraits, pet socks, and cute dog beds that look like dollhouse beds. In fact, some IKEA stores had trouble keeping their doll beds in stock because people bought them for their cats and small dogs, even against the company’s advice.
  • Community- or eco-friendly products and packaging: Consumers don’t just want to buy wholesome products for their pets. They also want purchases to contribute to a clean and sustainable environment. Any pet marketing agency can give their brands a boost by using and promoting their sustainable packaging and ingredients. Supporting worthy causes that their customers care about can also catch the attention of a market audience.
  • Better shopping experiences: The rise of large chains and eCommerce doesn’t necessarily keep neighborhood stores or startups in the doghouse. Many pet owners like and use various options, depending upon the situation. Omni-channel marketing with stores, eCommerce, and pickup or delivery can help niche businesses thrive.

Examples of successful pet marketing campaigns from smaller companies

To spark some inspiration, a pet marketing agency might look at some good examples of startups that successfully launched products.

Natural pet food

Some smaller pet food businesses gained traction with their high-quality, natural products, a DTC marketing model, delivery, and often, subscription sales. As an example, Ollie delivers vet-approved, customizable, and healthy meals. The Farmer’s Dog offers a meal-delivery plan that starts at only $3 a day.

Pet beds

Surprisingly, some of today’s popular pet beds come from businesses that gained a reputation for innovation by first making mattresses and bedding for people. These brands include Purple and Casper. This ties into the trend of people looking for the same benefits for their pets they would favor when they buy products for themselves.

Dog hygiene

Not only do Ethique’s solid shampoo and conditioner bars help reduce packaging waste, the company also uses natural ingredients. Besides marketing these bars to humans, they market the Bow Wow Bar for dogs. According to the company, the PH-balanced, gentle dog shampoo bars can replace three typical bottles of shampoo.

To put it all together, pet products enjoyed a boom in recent years. In particular, online sales have spiked. Even better, forecasts suggest the pet product market hasn’t even matured yet, so there’s plenty of room for growth. It’s true that the major players have benefited the most from this spike. At the same time, some smaller, more innovative companies have found room to profit and grow by paying attention to current trends and satisfying changing customer desires.

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