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U.S. pet industry continued strong growth in 2021

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In the just-released U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2022-23, Packaged Facts reports that the U.S. pet industry continued its strong advance in 2021, surging 14% overall to $123 billion. As one facet of these gains, non-medical services such as grooming and boarding–the only pet industry sector to lose ground in 2020–rebounding almost fully in 2021.

A number of factors contributed to this impressive performance, explains report analyst David Lummis, including “heightened focus on pet health and wellness among pet owners in closer contact with their pets, a ramped-up reliance on digital pet care including online shopping, and the impressive adaptability of consumers, marketers, retailers, and service providers.”

Throughout 2021 and continuing into 2022, the pet industry has seen a record pace of M&A transactions as entrenched participants carved out more “omnimarket” stakeholds and international territory and as outside investors flock into the fold. Packaged Facts coined the term omnimarket (rather that than retailing-anchored “omnichannel”) to characterize the far broader competitive trend that has reshaped the pet industry over the last two decades, with strategic and aggressive border-crossings between brick-and-mortar and e-tail, pet specialty and mass, products and services, medical and non-medical, and food vs. non-food pet supplies. A tie that binds these re-casts of business operations has been pet health as the basis for innovation and differentiation, and doubly so in this COVID-19 era. 

All pet industry sectors will continue to benefit from this ever-broadening focus on pet health and wellness, which provides a robust framework for ongoing premiumization in areas ranging from alternative forms of pet food and types of pet treats, to pet product autoship/subscription programs, to compounded pet medications, to customized dog grooming services. Moreover, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Packaged Facts expects increasing marketing focus on the mental health benefits of “pet parenting,” in step with this trend across consumer markets.

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