The U.S. pet industry continued its strong advance in 2021, surging 14 percent overall to $123 billion, according to a new report from market research firm Packaged Facts. As one facet of these gains, non-medical services such as grooming and boarding—the only pet industry sector to lose ground in 2020—rebounded almost fully in 2021, according to the U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2022-23 report.
A number of factors contributed to this impressive performance, said report analyst David Lummis, including “heightened focus on pet health and wellness among pet owners in closer contact with their pets, a ramped-up reliance on digital pet care including online shopping, and the impressive adaptability of consumers, marketers, retailers and service providers.”
Throughout 2021 and continuing into 2022, the pet industry has seen a record pace of M&A transactions as entrenched participants carved out more “omnimarket” stakeholds and international territory and as outside investors flock into the fold. Packaged Facts coined the term omnimarket (rather that than retailing-anchored “omnichannel”) to characterize the far broader competitive trend that has reshaped the pet industry over the last two decades, with strategic and aggressive border-crossings between brick-and-mortar and e-tail, pet specialty and mass, products and services, medical and non-medical, and food versus non-food pet supplies, company officials said. A tie that binds these re-casts of business operations has been pet health as the basis for innovation and differentiation, and doubly so in this COVID-19 era, officials said.
All pet industry sectors will continue to benefit from this ever-broadening focus on pet health and wellness, which provides a robust framework for ongoing premiumization in areas ranging from alternative forms of pet food and types of pet treats, to pet product autoship/subscription programs, to compounded pet medications, to customized dog grooming services, officials said. Moreover, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Packaged Facts expects increasing marketing focus on the mental health benefits of “pet parenting,” in step with this trend across consumer markets.