British spending on their pets has reached 1.7 billion pounds a year. And, as the company's experts predict, this number will only increase. Of course, this is an example of only one country, but the trend is becoming global. What are its reasons?
Are dogs replacing children?
Nicky Charles, a professor of sociology at the University of Warwick who studies the relationship between people and their pets, argues that millennials are no coincidence the main audience of this growing market. They, unlike representatives of older generations, are less likely to have children. Millennials are often accused of simply not knowing how to properly manage their money: if they hadn't bought so many avocados and dog sweaters, they could have already saved up for an apartment and set aside money for children. But, obviously, refusing to buy beer for dogs will not help to buy real estate that is tens or even hundreds of thousands of times more expensive.
Kari Cooper, professor of organizational psychology at the University of Manchester, agrees with these findings: "Pets are now perceived as a substitute for children, especially by lonely millennial workaholics and young couples who cannot afford to have children." In his opinion, it is difficult for such people to find time for communication, and pets not only provide emotional support, but also help to find new “human” acquaintances among other pet owners, for example, “dog lovers”.
So refusing millennials to have children is not a way to avoid responsibility, but rather the opposite. As Cooper points out, some couples show more conscious behavior when starting dogs: they try their hand at how they cope with responsibility for another living being. They just start not with a person, but with a dog. There is nothing wrong with that - provided, of course, that the dog is considered a full-fledged member of the family, and not a "training" child.
My dog is a part of me
Mintel expert Chana Baram offers a slightly different interpretation of what is happening: "Everyone wants their animals to be happy and healthy, but millennials do not stop there, they want more" human "products for their pets." If people began to worry about how healthy food was on their table and whether they spent enough time in the gym, then these feelings began to concern dogs as well. From here came the collars - activity trackers and subscription to "natural organic food sets" - goods and services not unlike human counterparts.
But health care is not limited to physical well-being. People began to pay more and more attention to their mental well-being. And, of course, we started thinking about our dogs. This is reflected not only in the growing demand for the services of zoopsychologists: goods that help your pet cope with loneliness (or you with a sense of guilt) also occupy a special place. For example, while you are at work, you can call your dog using a special device that will even give him a treat - all you need to do is move your finger on your smartphone. And even without technological innovations, it is possible to use the services of special "dog kindergartens", where your tailed fidget will play with other animals under the supervision of the staff, or pay for a day nanny who will come to your home and watch the dog in your absence ... And this is far from the limit.
Dogs have not been spared by other consumer trends either. For example, the so-called "celebrity culture". People tend to buy what celebrities advertise - not only actors and singers, but also numerous bloggers - in a word, influencers. And here animals have their own pet + influencer. Of course, the dogs themselves will not run to buy themselves a new collar and an innovative rug, because their idol has appeared on their Instagram - the owners will do it for them. For example, one of the patfluencers - Shiba Inu Marutaro with over 2.5 million subscribers.