Holy Shih Tzu! As the 'humanisation' of animals continues, the pet sector booms

  • News
  • March 2, 2017
  • Courtney Devereux
Holy Shih Tzu! As the 'humanisation' of animals continues, the pet sector booms

The pet industry is booming, and that growth centres around people’s love of and devotion to their ‘furry family members’. That shows no sign of letting up and, with Nielsen saying pet care products are driving lots of customers into the store, retailers and manufacturers are jumping on the 'humanisation’ bandwagon.

Many couples are choosing to remain childless for economic reasons, so a domestic companion animal is increasingly the beneficiary of disposable income that would previously have gone to small humans.

That might explain why, at  the country's largest pet store chain Animates, pet parents can buy advent calendars for their dogs; and at Grange Spa in Tauranga, furry clients can be dyed to match bridesmaids' dresses.

From the crate to the coffin, the pet supply industry has grown significantly in the last few years. From swimming lessons, day cares, salons and behavioural school, it is unsurprising that some companies have drawn the assumption that people are swapping children for animals.

Animates is currently in the process of acquiring veterinary clinics, which will mean it will provide the gamut of services from selling you your puppy in the beginning to putting it down at the end.

There are 32 stores and more planned and within those stores the company now aims to provide grooming and care products, according to chief operating officer Tanya Houghton.

“Customers don't need any convincing - they want to spend on their pets.”

The latest figures available from the New Zealand Companion Animal Council indicate that in 2011, Kiwis spent around $1.2 billion on their pets annually. Animates cites 25 percent growth from 2013 to 2014, and its total revenue for the 2014 financial year was more than $62 million. This grew to $71 million for the 2015 year.

In America and the United Kingdom, the total pet goods industry is expected to hit US$60 billion and £4.6 billion pounds this year.

Market research firm Euromonitor International expects a trend towards “humanisation” to drive global spending on pet goods past the $100 billion mark for the first time this year.

According to Pet Education, owning a dog from birth till 14 years on average will set you back a cool $38,000. Although expensive, raising a child from birth till 18 is on average $250,000. So next time you hear “how much is that doggy in the window?”, you can confidently say "$38,000 over its lifetime." 

According to Nielsen, the love we have for our pets means pet care also comes out on top as the main reason for trips to the supermarket, something it calls the ‘Trip Trigger Power’ scale.

On this scale, pet care comes in at 57 percent as the cause of a shopping trip, followed by health and fresh produce.

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