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Pet Parents Present Opportunities for Brand Engagement

CPG marketers seek pampered pets—and their owners

July 24, 2013 | Retail & Ecommerce

More US households have pets than have children. And in most of those homes, “pet parents” regard their animals as an integral part of the family—their health and happiness high on owners’ priority lists.

According to a May 2012 survey from Trone Brand Energy, nearly one-third of US dog and cat owners spent 30 minutes or more each week researching topics about their pets’ nutrition and well-being. When not busy seeking pet care insights, owners are also prolific sharers of videos, tweets and Facebook posts about their pets and those of others.

For pet brands, pet owners’ need for information and their impulse to show off their pets present myriad opportunities for engagement.

Time Spent per Week Researching Pet-Related Topics According to US Dog/Cat Owners, May 2012 (% of respondents)

A May 2013 survey of US pet owners by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin, an online distributor of retailer coupons, found that the majority keep pet spending in check. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they spent between $1 and $50 per month on their pets, while another 22% said they spent between $51 and $100 monthly.

Amount that US Pet Owners Spend per Month on Their Pets, May 2013 (% of total)

Still, pet owners like to occasionally splurge on their pets.

Yvonne DiVita, co-founder of BlogPaws, a community of more than 2,300 pet bloggers, said that for empty nesters, including her, “our pets have now become our children. I spend more on my pets than I ever spent on my kids.”

One example of how pet owners integrate their animals into the family is the celebration of pets’ birthdays. In CouponCabin and Harris Interactive’s study of US adults (60% of whom were pet owners), 22% of respondents said they had held or attended a birthday party for their own or someone else’s pet. And people were not coming to the party empty-handed. Among those who had celebrated a pet’s birthday, 47% said they spent between $1 and $19 on a gift; 36% spent $20 to $49. Similarly, “The Harris Poll” conducted in May 2012 found that nearly two-thirds of pet owners either frequently or occasionally bought their pets holiday presents; four in 10 cited the same frequency for birthday gifts.

The full report, “Pet Projects: Digital Connects Pet Owners to Brands,” also answers these key questions:

  • Do pet owners shop differently than consumers buying more general consumer packaged goods products?
  • What digital strategies work best when marketing to pet owners? What devices are they most likely to use?
  • Do pet food and pet care manufacturers need to commit to direct-to-consumer ecommerce?
  • When will traditionally brand-loyal pet owners try new brands?
  • What can consumer goods brands learn from pet care brands’ ability to connect with consumers?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.

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