Vital Pet Group says love for pets is driving premium purchases

With next Thursday (February 20) designated Love your Pet Day, Vital Pet Group has been looking at how love is affecting the pet trade and reports that while volume is slightly down, partly as a result of flat levels of pet ownership, value overall has increased as a result of a general move to premiumisation.

Heather McManus, sales and marketing director at Vital Pet Group, said: “It’s fascinating to see the increasing number of premium products that pet owners are buying and how pets are so integral to the family.

“The market has long talked about the humanisation of pets as an indicator of the longevity and potential profitability of the sector and I think this is just more evidence to back that up. It’s clear to me that retailers must reflect this premium positioning and desire for high quality products.”

When it comes to the important drivers of repeat sales, sectors such as dog treats are performing really strongly, Ms McManus said, while the trade is still accounting for a significant proportion of all dry dog food sales.

“Independent retailers sell less single serve cat food sales as a proportion of all sales,” she said, “but it does make a significant value contribution and outpaces wet dog food in our sector.”

Ms McManus added: “Single households are on the increase and projected to hit 10.7 million by 2039, up from around 7.7m in 2017. While those households may be less financially secure and tend to spend more of their disposable income, their relationship with their pet will often be particularly valued and therefore could attract more discretionary spend.

“It is reported that over 90% of pet owners in the UK say that owning a pet makes them feel happy. A further 88% feel that pet ownership improves their overall quality of life.

“The strong love we feel for pets and the extent to which we value our relationship with them is one of the reasons that the pet trade is considered relatively recession-proof and all indicators are that for all sectors of the population that we will continue to seek out quality and innovation in pet products to enhance their wellbeing.”

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