Wild Birds Aren’t Picky Eaters

Wild Birds Aren’t Picky Eaters

One of the appeals of participating in wild bird feeding as a pastime is that it is a fairly low-maintenance, and stress-free activity which can be done on individual schedules, budgets, and effort levels. While wild bird feeding has been, and continues to be, most popular among older Americans, the hobby is slowly becoming more popular with younger generations. A new report from Packaged Facts, Wild Bird Food Products: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities, analyzes the effects that product innovations, and brand diversification within the wild bird market have on consumer demographic buying habits.

Packaged Facts reports that 70% of wild bird enthusiasts use at least some private label wild bird foods, and that an increasingly wide variety of stores are beginning to produce their own wild bird food “store brands”  to gain access to the market. Wild bird food and other products can be found in a range of retailers, from supercenters to hardware stores, to pet shops. The report found that it’s the rare consumer who buys products directly from a wild bird product specialist. This lack of market dominance by specialty stores and brands provides retailers with a strong incentive to maintain a solid portfolio of wild bird products, including their own brand, to entice consumers to buy while they’re already in the store.

Another opportunity to grow this $2.1 billion market is to appeal to younger Americans. Yes, bird feeding skews older, but marketers can point to the hobby’s low barriers to entry: doesn’t take a lot of time and the costs are minimal, compared to other animal/pet-related activities. There is the challenge of having access to the outdoors; that is, younger people are more likely to live in an apartment or condo. But even in those dwellings, people can attach feeders to windows and balconies. Developing “cool” products for bird feeding could help the industry attract new participants and shed the reputation it has for being a “retirement” pastime.

-- by Norman Deschamps, market research analyst