Despite an ailing economy, US pet owners are showing they are more than willing to splurge when it comes to the health and happiness of their animals says industry research firm IBISWorld.
The pet business is expected to generate $51.6 billion this year, an increase of 1.3 percent from 2008, with trends in health and nutrition altering the market. Veterinary services are forecasted to grow the fastest, at an average annualized rate of 4.3 percent in the next five years—accounting for an estimated $22.3 billion in revenue this year.
"Pet healthcare is a big business, as awareness in health is driving growth in this area" said George Van Horn, senior analyst at IBISWorld. Veterinary practices are now expanding their range of services in order to cater to the health-related needs of animals. Chiropractics, ophthalmology, dentistry, and dermatology, to name a few, are becoming more readily available.
Pet food forecasts
Pet Food production can expect steady growth in the next five years, and is projected to generate approximately $15.2 billion this year. This sector is also being affected by and adjusting to trends in natural and organic products. In recent years, over half of all pet-owners have shown concern in what their pets are eating, causing a greater shift in demand for premium pet food—ranging from breed-specific brands, to weight-loss diets, to special or natural-ingredient foods claiming nutritional benefits.
Pet stores revenues
Pet stores are expected to generate revenue of $11.45 billion this year. The majority of their in-store revenue comes from pet food, pet supplies and medicine. Live animal purchases contribute the least in sales, and this will continue its decline as companies become socially responsible in response to ethical concerns surrounding puppy mills, as well as overpopulation issues of homeless animals in shelters. Major pet store retailers now affiliate themselves with organizations that help dogs and cats with adoption. For instance, PETCO now hosts an in-store adoption center, introducing the philosophy "Think Adoption First."
In 2009, the population of dogs and cats as pets is approximately 169 million, which has increased roughly 2.4 percent since last year. Of those, 18 percent of cats and 10 percent of dogs have been adopted from animal shelters. “Americans consider their pets as members of the family, making businesses that cater to our four-legged friends a stable, growing market,” said Van Horn.
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