The 2016 Global Pet Expo Show featured 1,087 vendors, 3,218 booths, and hundreds of new product launches (950 entries in the 30,000 square-foot New Products Showcase alone). I was like a kid in a candy store. I love to care for and spoil my fur kid Kilo the Pug. Here’s our look at a few of the trends we noticed.
1) Growth of the Pet Business Overall
Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), announced at Global Pet Expo, an annual trade show presented by APPA and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), that overall spending in the pet industry for 2015 came in at a record $60.28 billion versus 58 billion in 2014. The Food and treat category still remains the leading source of dollars spent in the industry. Pet services saw the largest growth reaching $5.41 billion and 12% – including grooming, boarding, walking, training, sitting, exercise and yard services.
“The Pet humanization trend is alive and well and continues to drive growth at the premium end of the markets” said Bob. “As Millennials prepare to take the reins from the baby boomer generation, as the primary demographic of pet owners, they stand to further develop this trend”.
Food $23.04 billion
Supplies/OTC Medicine $14.39 billion
Vet Care $15.73 billion
Live animal purchases $2.19 billion
Pet Services: grooming & boarding $5.24 billion
source: American Pet Products Association (APPA)
2) People are doing more with their Pets and Brands are helping them.
People of all ages, especially millennials, are closer to and doing more with their pets especially dogs – getting them groomed, attending events , training them, doing sports, and travelling. Also, people want and expect their pets to live longer and want them to be healthy, safe and comfortable. Even when they can not be with them, pet parents are spending on monitoring them. For example Eyenimal makes cool pet products including camera so you can see what your pet is up to all day. Motorola and others also had cool products.
Millennials are redefining the idea of family is by adopting fur kids earlier and waiting to have children. According to a Wakefield study, the average millennial gets their first pet at 21 rather than the average baby boomer, who waited until 29. They treat them like children in many cases and include them in their lives, even dating with dogs, like in our romantic comedy Pippy Love.
There were lots of vendors of travel equipment, carriers, harnesses, sports equipment, training equipment and other products to support this growth.
We have created a new comedy series called Backseat Barkers , which will “document” the lives and travels of a new blended family- a millennial couple and their two talking dogs- as they road trip across Ontario.
Lots of bloggers and brands had pets, especially dogs, with them at Global Pet Expo. We saw Jesse, Preston (Preston Speaks), Lulu the Beagle , Ricky and Jack (Lucy Pet Foundation), Rama and Sassy (Walks with Rama), Harrison and Gigi (Vanderpump Pets).
3) Food and Treats – a $23 billion dollar business and growing.
More pet owners are becoming knowledgeable about what they are feeding their pets. They read labels, look at ingredients, check sources, and research health benefits and alternatives. They like to know what is in a product as well as what is not in a product and where it comes from.Various food sectors catering to this need continue to grow.
Natural certainly sounds more appealing to me and to other pet parents, especially millennials.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) allows a pet food to be labeled natural if it is “a food derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources, not having been produced by or subject to a chemical synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic”
Millennials look for natural, high quality but for a reasonable price.
Paul Cooke VP at Nestle Purina says that “In Pet Food, the focus is on natural products.” Purina has added new natural products to the Dog and Puppy Chow Lines. “With Pets becoming a much more important part of the family, consumers want products that offer more. They want products that focus on nutrition, skin and coat, and dental issues.”
Other brands have also added natural and healthier alternatives.
Many pet parents continue to feel more comfortable feeding their pets food sourced and made in the USA and Canada. Orijen even offered a virtual tour of their amazing state of the art US factory.
The $2.8 million grain free category continues to grow and represents 35% of the category. Apparently nearly half of all new food was grain-free in 2015. I must admit I found it appealing for Kilo the Pug. He appears to have no problem processing grain but I thought he probably does not need extra calories and fill in his kibble. If I keep that grain-free, he can share a tiny bit of toast and a few cookie treats occasionally. Also both my daughters have trouble processing gluten.
Limited Ingredient and “wild” meat
I certainly look for food that is very clear about the main meat ingredient. I have been hearing more and more about many dogs doing better on “wild” meats and many brands were promoting new ranges with for example
The Raw Category is still growing over 30% to $82 million in spite of recalls. Frozen Raw is now being offered at many specialty stores and many of my well-informed friends swear by it.
I am more excited about freeze-dried raw mixed in with kibble. I am currently feeding Kilo the Pug Merrick.
He also tried and loved Nutrience Sub Zero and some other Raw Boosters. Freeze dried and dehydrated now account for $200million and the segment is growing fast.
Meal enhancers showed over 300% growth driven by freeze dried mixers and wet food toppers. I often add these to Kilo’s food and can see the appeal.I live raw boosts and the Honest Kitchen Toppers. I also occasionally add yoghurt and probiotics, or fruit and vegies.
Treats and Chews
Millenials love to spoil their dogs with treats and chews. More people are training their dogs using positive reinforcement and giving their dogs chews with dental or other health benefits, so the treat industry is growing at a rapid rate. Most are looking for the same or better quality as their pet’s food. They want natural, not too many calories, locally sourced and made. Treats also offer great margins for retailers and are very innovative. People tend to experiment more with different brands. Plus there can be themed treats for example at Christmas and Birthdays and they make great gifys for Pets and Pet Lovers.
We saw a few brands pushing the Rawhide Replacement angle amidst growing concerns about the safety of Rawhide Chews.
4) Fitness and health
People are helping their pets live longer. There is a growing market of products dedicated to our pets’ wellness and health such as fitness, oral care, pet safety kits, and skin care.
Innovet Pet Products focuses on providing treatment for pets that are hard to train or medicate.We are trying their anti anxiety spray.
Pet Research Labs – the makers of Petology® create fine personal care products that combine the best of science and nature to create a line of sulfate-free formulas.
Bobbi Panter partnered with Outkast’s Big Boi for a new line of natural pet shampoos and pet skin care products.
There seemed to be lots of people talking about supplements.
I picked up the EverPup Daily Dog Supplement . It’s a 100% natural, human grade powder supplement that helps your dog’s immune defence. I’ll be starting the 30-day challenge with Kilo and will share more details.
People are spending more to keep their pets fit and healthy, and in turn, it’s saving them money and keeping them healthy. Habri reported that more than 20 million dog owners who walk their dog five or more times a week show a lower incidence of obesity resulting in a saving of $148 million.
We liked the look of the Canine Gym In A Box from our wonderful fit friend Krista at Fit Paws.
Kurgo had their usual range of gear like Kilo’s car harness and some new cool games with a retro twist.
We also saw all sorts of cool Ball throwers.
There were Fitness monitors
There were Bike attachments so you can bike with your dog and hands-free leashes to run with your dog (I love my new Hurtta hands-free leash I got at Global Pet Expo. It’s designed with a flexi section that decreases stress on your dog if they suddenly pull.)
5) Pet Safety and Comfort with Style
People are more informed about their pets’ safety and want their pets to be comfortable and live in style. We noticed a lot more pet products to prevent or treat injury or illness and protect pets- in the car, and at home.
There were lots of preventative options for fleas,ticks and mosquitoes including from Bayer who announced their new campaign supporting K9s for Warriors over lunch.
There was Sunscreen for dogs plus I loved the new sun and insect protective jackets I saw at Global Pet Expo from Hurrta.
Harnesses have also become a popular option for pet parents.
Fashion can be more than just about dressing your dog up for fun. Our pal Roanna Sabeh-Azar from Neo-Paws International about pet safety wear including boots, jackets and life jackets.
There were many products dedicated to the well being of your pet. There was a soft comfy cone. Pawflex offered comfortable bandages for joint pain and Solvit has a great line for aging or pets with joint and mobility issues.
There were also quite a few options for tracking your pet.
6) Toys, Games and Fashion
Many people are spending more splurging on fun toys, games and fashion or costumes. I know I am one of those people LOL. Kilo has a large toy box he loves and costumes for many occasions (Pugoween, Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter) .
I’m always looking for new and fun ways to keep Kilo the Pug mentally and physically stimulated. I picked up the BUSTER ActivityMat By Kruuse which uses fun puzzles to keep him busy – I love it and so does he.
Stuffables and meal dispensing toys seemed to be very popular. Kong and Pawflex allow you to stuff the toy, satisfying your dog’s natural instinct of foraging for their treat.
Then we also saw several maze balls I would love to try with Kilo.
I saw the Busy Bee Plush that Kilo was given at BlogPaws 2015 – I was angling for a panda or ladybug but no luck. I also saw some of the tough plushes he loves from Kong but was unsuccessful in getting one to review.
We’ve noticed more people dressing up their dogs over the last 12 months. We saw so many amazing options for clothing and fashion.
The Vanderpump Pets line is stunning but most of the sizes on show were a bit small for Kilo.
Kilo looks so cute in his Minion costume from the Rubie’s Pet Shop Line. They have so many fun costumes to choose from. I saw some I want for this Halloween but you’ll have to wait and see.
I really love these jackets from RC Pet Products. Kilo and Beau both want to be ambassadors in these (or I want them to be). I hope they will let us review them next fall as they would both look so handsome, plus they look warm, easy to put on and comfy.
Buddy Belts Kilo and Beau love their Buddy Belt harnesses and they are a local Canadian Company.
7) More companies and bloggers giving back.
We were so happy to see many Pet Brands (and of course bloggers) are donating to charity and helping animals and people in need. Here are a few we saw:
Bayer – we’ll be doing more on their efforts with K9s for Warriors.
Merrick– also donating to K9s for Warriors.
Dog for Dog is an amazing pet food and treat brand that donates to local dog shelters with each purchase of their products. We also love their new TV show where they do even more “Save Our Shelter”.
The Vanderpump DogsTM Foundation is made up of a group of dog activists and rescue dogs whose mission is to provide for a more humane world for companion animals. Through both our domestic and international campaigns, the organization is making a positive impact on global legislation, education and treatment of animals.They had a great selection of dog apparel and accessories, proceeds from each purchas helps fund their rescue efforts.
Over 80,000 dogs and cats are euthanized each week in the US. The goal of the Lucy Pet Foundation is to have spay/neuter and adoption mobile clinics in every major city in the country.
MuttNation Foundation is a donation-supported organization with the mission to end animal cruelty, neglect, and homelessness. It was founded in 2009 by Miranda Lambert and her mother Bev Lambert.