Why Demand for High-End Pet Services Is Growing
More pet owners are willing to pay a premium for high-quality photographs of their pets, and as a result, the pet photography niche is another high-end pet service experiencing growth.
As we prepare for 2017, growth within the pet industry remains strong. Statistics gathered by the American Pet Products Association show year-on-year growth for the past 20 years—and there’s every indication this trend will extend into the future.
The changing demographic trends within the industry continue to be a hot topic of discussion. Much has been written about the influence of millennials on spending, the humanization of pets and the upsurge in sales of pet foods and products marketed as healthful and high end.
Pet businesses are taking notice of the issue of anthropomorphism—pet owners projecting human characteristics onto their pets and treating them not just as people, but also as one of the family. The range of products in the marketplace is wider than ever, and pet owners are voting with their wallets when it comes to the type of products they wish to purchase. Many of these emerging products cater to the desire to pamper pets, and emphasize high quality ingredients and materials as their selling point.
But it’s not just pet food and products that are being anthropomorphized, there’s also a huge and growing trend for high-end pet services. These types of businesses present excellent opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to break into the industry. So what kind of high-end pet service businesses are proving popular right now?
Luxury Pet Spas and Hotels
The boom in pet care spending has resulted in a huge increase in products and services aimed toward affluent pet owners. The trend for pet hotels and spas is an extravagant example of just how luxurious high-end pet services can be. D Pet Hotels is a luxury dog hotel and spa franchise with four locations in the U.S., and a fifth opening soon. On their website, the company boasts “modern 5-star luxury dog boarding, accommodations and amenities for your most precious companions while you are away [at] work or play.” The list of services available is extensive and includes nail coloring, dog hair styling and hot oil treatments.
Pet Behavioral Consulting
Pet behavioral consulting has emerged in recent years as a rapidly growing sector of the pet industry. The formation of The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) in 2004 is a good indicator of just how popular this field has become. Behavior consultants fit into the trend for pet services that offer a holistic approach to animal behavior. The services offered cater to pet owners who seek an advanced and comprehensive solution to their pet's behavioral issues. As you’d expect, these services are not cheap. Their popularity is indicative of the willingness of many modern pet owners to spend large sums of money on the wellbeing of their pets.
Pet Portrait Photography
An increasing number of pet owners are willing to pay a premium for high-quality photographs of their pets, and as a result, the pet photography niche is another high-end service experiencing growth. As with most high-end pet businesses, the premium prices owners will pay reflect the wide range of services on offer and the ability to customize the experience in any number of ways. Subniches such as equine photography provide alternate options for freelancers looking to break into the industry.
When starting any new business, there are a number of challenges ranging from financing to clearly defining your offering and target market to managing your workflow. One of the biggest challenges for modern pet businesses is effective marketing. It’s important to use simple, consistent marketing practices to ensure you connect with customers in today’s highly competitive pet market. Businesses that are thriving take care to cultivate a strong social media and web presence, and value the feedback of their customers to help grow their business.
The trend for high-end pet services shows no sign of slowing down. Ultimately it will be the businesses that provide a solution to a very specific need—and deliver exceptional levels of service—that stand to benefit the most from catering to this niche.
Richard Rowlands is a writer and marketer for the pet industry, and a keen pet enthusiast. He works with pet businesses to improve their marketing and increase profits. To find out more, please visit his website.