Four Pet Care Industry Revelations

The sale of dog and cat food packaging units has outpaced every other category in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market. ©Dora Zett – stock.adobe.com

The Pet Care Industry is Evolving Beyond Conventional Products

By Swapna Gawale, a Project Manager with Towards Packaging

The pet care industry has experienced a significant upswing in developed nations in recent years, mirroring the rising number of pet companions. Notably, the sale of dog and cat food packaging units has outpaced every other category in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market, and the global pet care packaging market, valued at $11.2 billion in 2022, is projected to reach $17.52 billion by 2032.

The restrictions imposed by the pandemic undoubtedly contributed to heightened interest in pets, leading to an unprecedented surge in the pet care sector. Pet care packaging is expected to change over the next decade due to new shopping behaviors and increased demand for sustainability, safety and convenience.

Source: Towards Packaging

Our independent market research identified four pet care industry revelations:

  • Manufacturers are introducing innovative offerings and new packaging formats
  • E-commerce surges, shaping enduring pet care consumer purchasing behavior
  • Sustainability is impacting consumer behavior in pet care packaging
  • Pet care packaging businesses are navigating unforeseen post-pandemic hurdles

Innovative offerings

The pet care industry is evolving beyond conventional products to include a variety of innovative solutions, such as pet-calming items that contribute to creating a tranquil environment. Wild One, for instance, markets a gummy supplement for relaxation, packaged in a resealable plastic bottle, showcasing the industry’s adaptability and growth potential.

Pet care manufacturers are not only creating traditional products but are also introducing innovative offerings, including beneficial foods and supplements. These products come in convenient, resealable packaging designed to induce relaxation, support skin and coat health and enhance immunity. Neo Bites, for example, has unveiled purposeful meal toppers in flexible, resealable packaging, addressing specific wellness and health concerns.

New purchasing behaviors

During the pandemic, the surge in e-commerce not only thrived but also gave rise to enduring consumer purchasing behaviours. Pet owners have also embraced the subscription model, valuing its prompt delivery, diverse selections, easy comparison shopping, personalized discounts, and other conveniences.

Post-pandemic, some consumers have returned to in-person shopping, capitalizing on same-day delivery and on-site assistance. And many pet owners now exhibit a willingness to seamlessly switch between offline and online resources.

To effectively cater to this dynamic consumer behavior, contemporary retailers must adopt an omnichannel strategy. This entails establishing a presence across multiple platforms, ensuring a cohesive and seamless experience for customers who prefer to engage with businesses through various channels.

The proportion of pet care sales conducted online has risen significantly, from 18% in 2022 to 29% in 2023. The burgeoning pet care markets in the Asia Pacific region have especially benefited from widespread e-commerce adoption and O2O (online-to-offline) distribution.

Source: Towards Packaging

Sustainable packaging

Sustainability continues to play a significant role in consumer behavior, even in the pet care industry. The growing concern for the environment has a major impact on the choices and purchases of three-quarters of pet owners when it comes to caring for their furry friends. This includes being mindful of the type of food they feed their pets, as reported by 40% of pet owners. And nearly 75% of pet food consumers express a positive opinion towards companies that prioritize eco-friendly packaging options.

For manufacturers, incorporating sustainability into packaging can be a challenging task as it often competes with other packaging trends. While environmentally friendly materials may not always offer the best food safety, quality, and longevity; and single-serve or smaller packaging can also contribute to the issue of packaging waste, even though it can prevent food waste. A potential solution to this predicament is to continue to improve the recyclability of packaging and provide more sustainable options for consumers.

Pet humanization

Despite its recent success, the pet care sector has faced challenges following the initial surge during the COVID-19 lockdown. The decline can be attributed to factors such as pet owners returning to work, spending less time with their pets, and consumers dealing with increased costs and diminished disposable income.

However, the trend of pet humanization is on the rise, indicating that people prioritize spending on their pets above other expenses. Globally, 69% of pet owners view their pets as cherished family members.

This emphasizes the enduring significance of the bond between pets and humans, serving as a fundamental driving force in the ever-evolving pet care industry. As pet owners continue to integrate their furry companions into their families, the industry is likely to adapt and innovate to meet the evolving needs and preferences of consumers who consider their pets not just as animals but as beloved members of their households.

About the Author

Swapna Gawale is a Project Manager with Towards Packaging, specializing in research and analysis across various industries. She has a deep passion for knowledge discovery and a commitment to delivering actionable insights, and has collaborated with numerous organizations to help them make informed decisions and drive strategic growth. Towards Packaging is a leading global consulting firm, offering comprehensive insights into market trends, regulations, and emerging packaging technologies. Learn more at  at www.towardspackaging.com.

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