Pet Lovers’ Consumer Behaviour

If you own a pet, you already know how wonderful it is when you arrive home and you find your little friend waiting for you on the doorstep; or how soothing cuddling them after a hard day at work can be. Having a pet is a lot of work for sure, but the joy they bring is undeniable. 

The positive effects that owning a pet bring are well-known but some of them have also been scientifically proven. For instance, our mental health largely improves, and pets also ameliorate our social interaction and sense of community with others. Scientific research has also shown that owning a pet can lead to the lowering of blood pressure, lower levels of obesity and can improve recovery from heart surgery. 

These results do not strike us at all. Animals provide companionship, improve mood, they make us feel less lonely but also teach us patience, trust, respect and empathy. Generally speaking, human wellbeing is improved by relationships with pets as feelings like stability, comfort and security are enhanced. It is not difficult to understand then that more than 3.2 million households in the UK have acquired a pet since the beginning of the pandemic. Millennials represent a vast percentage of that number due to increased experience of social isolation. Among these, 74% said their pet have helped them with their mental health while they were coping with coronavirus restrictions. During the current pandemic, pets have been fundamental, they have reduced anxiety and boosted productivity and motivation. 

The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have profoundly affected our buying habits and of course, the pet owner market. Millennials are now the largest segment of pet owners and pet brands should remember that if they want to win their hearts, minds and wallets. 

Millennials hold dear values connected to animal rights, environmental protection, feminism, anti-racism, inclusiveness and LGBTQ+ rights. Brands who can support these values are the ones that will benefit the most in the future. For instance, it has been shown that millennials prefer to buy from brands where their purchase supports a cause. 2021 is expected to see a rise of brands with purpose. But don’t fake it, customers and above all, millennials are smart; they’ll know if your mission is not authentic. To win them, stand for what you truly believe. 

A further trend expected in 2021 are digital subscriptions. Millennials value brands that add something to their lives and digital subscriptions definitely save time and money. Pet Food subscriptions will become more popular. 

Nowadays, pets are not considered anymore just as animals, in fact, they have been strongly humanised. According to Marion Nestle, “humanisation will be the single most important trend fuelling the growth in the global pet food market”. Pet owners are interested in their pet’s emotional and basic needs. They choose more carefully how to behave with their pets and what to feed them. Moreover, great interest is also given to education. 

Pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family and therefore, they are willing to spend even an extensive amount of money on them. People’s consumption for one’s pet has already doubled over the past 10 years, but now it is expected that it will increase even more. A recent research has also suggested that those who spend excessively on themselves are also more likely to spend excessively on their pets. 

In this context, research has shown that many dog owners use their dogs as definitions of themselves. Somehow, it can be said that pets have become an extension of our identity. It might be due to this reason that an increasing number of brands are now creating matching outfits for both the owner and the pet. For instance, Bershka has created a line called “Best Friend Crew” where you can find matching styles for you and your pet. 

As it is possible to observe, personal pets have taken a different role, their importance has increased more than ever. They are fundamental for our mental health, for our happiness and of course, we are willing to spend even an extensive amount of money for them. They must not miss nothing. However, this new relationship has made us think about our wider relationships with animals…could this be the right opportunity to rethink our lifestyle and our relationship with the natural world?

If you own or are setting up a pet brand and you want to better understand your customers’ needs and desires, email us at info@stylepsychology.co.uk.

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