Cats are often interested in a white-flowered plant called Nepeta cataria, also known as catnip or cat mint. They sniff it, rub it on its leaves and bite it to experience a heightened state of pleasure. Sometimes it seems that they even try to catch imaginary mice. The pet products market is in that same moment of ecstasy, with the difference that it is not experiencing any hallucinations. In Western Europe, spending on food and accessories will rise to 36.5 billion euros this year, according to calculations by Euromonitor International, a provider of market research. In his studies, the accumulated growth in the last three years of the furry friends business reaches 13%. It had been advancing strongly before the pandemic, but after the confinements a new cycle has opened that has added millions of puppies to an already considerable population.
Fdiaf, the voice of the animal feed industry in Europe, calculates (with data from 2021) that there are 90 million households with one or more pets. They are five million more than in 2019 and result in the existence, in homes or outside them, of 113 million cats, 92 million dogs, 48 million birds and another 56 million animals including rabbits, fish and turtles.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released survey data in May last year showing that one in five families had adopted a cat or dog since the start of the pandemic, roughly 23 million Americans. . Estimates for Spain made by Anfaac, the association of feed manufacturers and Veterindustry, speak of a census (also in 2021) of 29 million pets between dogs (9.3 million), cats (5.8) and other adorable friends . There are 2.6 million more dogs and 2.1 million more cats than in 2019.
Companies nurture such growth with thousands of offers, from an endless catalog of dry and wet foods to increasingly extensive ranges of beds, harnesses, carriers, toys, feeders, scratching posts or clothing. In Spain there are some 5,000 neighborhood stores; items are sold in most of the 6,516 existing veterinary centers and department stores always have their specialized section, just like Asian stores. The large supermarket-type chains are increasingly popular (Tiendanimal and Kiwoko, from the same business group, or Petuluku) and join the branches developed by gardening groups (Verdecora, Jardiland) and the growing online offer (Riovet, Zooplus, Animalcity , Miscota and many others). Even Ikea has a range of furniture developed by designers and veterinarians (Lurvig).
The world of services is not far behind. Olga de Diego, president of the Federation of Dog Groomers (Fepecae) puts active businesses in the thousands, “although there are really many hidden due to great intrusiveness, with people who start combing four neighborhood dogs at home.” In addition, there is a large group of emerging companies with services unimaginable until recently, from places for car washing dogs to applications that supposedly “translate” the meows of cats into human language. That, without taking into account the enormous dimension of the veterinary business and the increasingly important branch of dog training and residences.
The world’s largest producer of medicines and vaccines for pets and livestock, Zoetis, has a capitalization of close to 70,000 million dollars and its shares are trading at 148 dollars: they have appreciated 76% since January 2019. Mars, the American family group of the famous chocolate bars and animal food (Pedigree, Whiskas, Royal Canin) revealed this summer that with all its brands it invoices more than Coca-Cola (45,000 million dollars). Nestlé, owner of Purina, is another of the giants of petcare: it published sales last year of 15,600 million only in the branch.