Counselor

Capitalize on Pet Products

Pet spending continues to grow – and offers opportunities in every possible market.

Make no bones about it – people are passionate about their pets. About 65% of U.S. households own a pet, according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). And the large majority of owners consider their pets to be family, shelling out big bucks to feed, care for and entertain them.

In 2016 alone, Americans spent approximately $62.8 billion on their pets, up from $60.3 billion a year earlier. The trend is even more pronounced over time – in 2003, for example, Americans spent $29.6 billion on their pets. Not even a recession could slow consumer spending on our furry friends – sales steadily gained between 2007 and 2009, increasing from $41.2 billion to $45.5 billion for the period.

With these undeniably impressive numbers, more and more brands have introduced pet-centric items. In the promo products industry, it was WOV-IN Group (asi/92980) that sniffed out a huge opportunity when it launched Promopet (asi/79698), a completely pet-focused product line in 2010. “We recognized the growing trend of how much people were spending on their pets, but there really wasn’t a supplier fully dedicated to this niche,” says Kimberly Damp, sales and marketing coordinator for both Promopet and WOV-IN.

Every customer can benefit from a pet or pet-related product, so don’t limit your scope by thinking, “I don’t sell to veterinarians or groomers,” says Damp. “If people use even one quarter of their imagination, they’d be surprised how much business they can get.”

What markets and organizations would be interested in pet promos. Here are a few suggestions:

Corporations:
Promopet’s products do well in company stores for Fortune 500 companies that like to grow brand loyalty by putting their logo on pet-related items, according to Damp.

Hospitality:
Bringing dogs on vacation is an emerging pet trend, according to David Fiderer, director of marketing at Prime Line (asi/79530). A recent TripAdvisor survey shows that 56% of Americans are likely to travel with their four-legged friends, and 52% will only stay at accommodations that welcome pets. These hotels are interested in offering both unique and practical items to attract pet owners, and encouraging them to return. Gifts are a great way to welcome and acknowledge pets so their owners will remember the hotel and come back, plus spread the word to friends.

Schools:
Do you sell to a local school with an animal mascot? Promopet has many paw print items that the school logo could be imprinted on, and its line includes giveaway and fundraising items in price ranges to fit nearly any budget. Pet promo items do well in places with college logos, too. “We do a lot of business with collegiate bookstores,” Damp says.

Local Establishments and Events:
Local banks often give away pet treats for their drive-through clients. Promopet has gotten lots of orders for items to promote dog parks, which are popping up all over the country, as well as giveaways at community events, runs, walks, and police and fire department sponsored events.

Real Estate:
Companies realize pets sometimes get more attention than people, so promotions geared toward pets have increased visibility in the home, says Jay Howard, a senior account executive at HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000). Pet products work well in real estate offices, as realtors are always looking for ways to stay top-of-mind in the home, he notes. Food can lids, plastic flyers, bandanas and pet waste bag dispensers are good options.