Is the pet care industry recession resistant?

Is the pet care industry recession resistant?

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a major recession that’s affecting various businesses across the United States. But the pet care industry is still thriving – and here’s why.

COVID-19 has strained every sector of the U.S. economy and is dominating every aspect of our lives. Many businesses are experiencing economic challenges, and some may not recover, especially given the recent surges of COVID-19 cases. “Stay-at-home” or the softer “safer-at-home” orders across the nation have redefined lifestyles and now dictate how we work, how our children are educated, how we exercise, and nearly every other aspect of our lives – including how we care for our pets.

How has COVID-19 affected the pet industry?

Despite all the changes we’ve undergone in the past six months, there is a select group of industries that have been able to not only survive the economic downturn but thrive. The pet care industry is among the very few that has not been negatively affected by the current economic climate and is gaining a boost from what we now call “the new normal”.

According to market research firms and industry growth indicators, the pet industry is forecasted to reach more than $280 billion within the next three years. This growth trajectory has been on a steady incline for the past 30 years, and industry experts suggest there is no slowing down. The historical growth pattern of the pet industry and its continued growth in difficult economic times (think 2001 and 2008) has resulted in the pet industry being recognized as a recession-resistant business category.

The “fur babe” revolution

There are several reasons for the pet care industry growth. For one, in recent decades, our relationship with pets has evolved. Pets are now viewed as family members and, in many cases, have taken on the role of “children” as young couples redefine the new family structure. As veterinarians, we have seen a steady growth of owners caring more about the health of their pets, and they are making more frequent appointments for consultations regarding overall health and wellness.

Due to COVID-19’s stay-at-home orders, we’ve seen an added layer of care and interaction between pet parents and their animal companions. Because more people are now home, many shelters from all over the country reported massive upswings in the numbers of animals they’ve been able to adopt out or place in foster homes. Because COVID has forced people to stay home, many people decided that now is the perfect time to welcome a new pet.

And why not! Pets need love and care, and they arguably give a lot more than they receive. During times like these, people are turning to pets for comfort, emotional support, and companionship, and the benefits are symbiotic. Interacting with a dog or cat lowers your blood pressure and cortisol levels while stimulating oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, chemicals that help our bodies relax.

This is all a great recipe for better health, happier lifestyles (for humans and their fur babes). And it explains why the pet industry is thriving! Pet parents are willing to spend more in order to give their furry family members the best life possible – and not even a global pandemic can change that!


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