In a recent article that appeared on CNBC.com and U.S. News & World Report, reporter Coryanne Hicks enlisted several stock market strategists and pet industry experts to provide insights into the rapidly expanding pet industry and potential investment opportunities within the space. While SDR Ventures does not provide investment advice, Hicks interviewed SDR Vice President Jodi Burrows about some of the main factors that are helping to drive pet industry growth overall.
First, attitudes towards pets have been shifting in recent years and they are increasingly viewed as integrated members of the family. As such, pet owners aren’t going to stop spending on their pets just because money is tight. They don’t view these costs as “discretionary spending,” and “are willing to give up other expenses to cater to their pets,” remarked Burrows in the article. This factor could result in an industry that is less susceptible to the full effects of economic downturns.
Private equity firms and large strategic companies alike (many of which previously had no presence in the pet space) have certainly taken notice of recent pet industry growth and its positive market trends. This has led to increased M&A activity, including General Mills’ high-profile acquisition of Blue Buffalo (announced in February and completed in April) and J.M. Smucker’s acquisition of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition (announced in April).
In addition to pets becoming a larger part of the family and garnering a healthy share of household spending, the article points out the growth in health & wellness as a whole, and its subsequent effects on the pet industry. As is the case with human food, many pet owners are seeking out pet food with less ingredients (preferably of organic/natural origin) and transparent packaging. “As health and wellness grows in priority to consumers, these trends are quickly transferring to the pet market,” Burrows stated.
However, in recent months, pet food recalls (some of which have been amplified by the shift by many pet parents to raw and freeze-dried food and treats for their pets) have plagued the industry as well. Our latest Deal Hound Pet Report explores this topic in more detail.
The CNBC.com and U.S. News & World Report article highlights pet health (including medicines, vaccines and pet health insurance) and pet tech (specifically pet-focused apps) as potential areas of large growth within the pet industry as well.