Discretionary Pet Services Are Climbing Back into the Saddle

Press Release
Oct 18, 2021

Although the pet industry is famously downturn-resistant, hands-on pet care services outside of the veterinary sector— grooming, boarding, pet sitting/walking, and training—were inherently vulnerable to COVID-19 setbacks.  Social distancing becomes tricky to impossible in providing these services, and the services themselves are often optional.

As reported in Packaged Facts’ just released Pet Services in the U.S., the two travel-related pet service segments, boarding and pet sitting/walking, suffered the most due to COVID-19, with sales plummeting 45% and 35%, respectively, in 2020.  The overall non-medical pet services sector dipped 22% to $8.1 billion.

Difficult as it’s been for this pet services sector, things could have been worse. According to report author David Lummis, “this relative resilience owes to the strong momentum that pet services carried into the pandemic.” Sales momentum was and will resume being driven by the pets-as-family mentality, by brick-and-mortar retailers’ increased emphasis on services rather than products (to better compete with the Internet), by the distinctive pet care spending of Millennials, and by the upper-income household skew driving discretionary spending in the pet industry overall.

Pet service demographics are disproportionately upscale and urban. For example, use of dog training skews to owners with a household income of $100,000 or more, who live in the top 10 metropolitan areas, or who have graduate degrees.

Also softening the stay-at-home blow of the pandemic, and boding well for pet service sales going forward, is the pet acquisition boom in the wake of COVID-19. Packaged Facts estimates that 13% of households (or 23% of current pet-owning households) added a dog to their home in the previous 12 months, while 11% added a cat in that same period.

The non-medical pet services business will continue to benefit from these factors, as well as from the ongoing venture capital investment that now characterizes the pet industry.

About Packaged Facts  

Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, and pet products and services. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. Reports can be purchased at our company website and are also available through MarketResearch.com.

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