Lending a helping …
Our daughter-in-law, Caro, was visiting us a few days ago; she talked about her dream: owning a grooming salon in the Outaouais. She’s a talented groomer and laughingly acknowledges she knows the pets she grooms better than their owners – she told us that when she’s shopping, people will stop to talk to her and she’ll instantly remember the pets’ names but not the owners’!
Caro wondered if she could successfully open a shop, offering a multitude of high-end services while keeping her personal touch alive with both pets and their owners. She already has a small but loyal and growing customer base who book appointments for her “salon on wheels”. Caro drives to their homes to groom their pets in a retrofitted Winnebago.
Even knowing about existing competition in the area, she was curious about how to decide whether or not this was a good idea.
After this discussion, I looked into the pet grooming industry and I think Caro’s on to something! I read Statistics Canada reports and the Canadian Pet Market Outlook 2014, among others, and discovered some interesting facts:
- 57% of Canadian households own pets, (32% have dogs and 37%, cats);
- Higher income households represent 21% of the population and 25% of pet owners;
- The Outaouais ranks fifth out of 27 metropolitan areas with higher average income households;
- 46% of adults between the ages of 45 and 54 own dogs (47% own cats);
- More than 50% of those households have children aged between 12 and 17, with a whopping 58% owning dogs and 47% cats;
- Over 12,000 pet owners attend the Ottawa Pet Expo annually.
Pets are serious business! Pet parents take their responsibilities seriously. Twenty-one percent of those between the ages of 45 and 54 will spend more for foods that are less processed and have fewer ingredients as they believe their pets should get their nutrition from food, rather than supplements, much as they themselves do. Fifty percent of them purchase expensive toys and dress their pets in clothing .
According to an article on multibriefs.com, the trend of pet humanization will increase demand for premium foods, upscale products, and more specialty services, as well as a return to smaller salons or shops to fulfill these requirements. (http://www.multibriefs.com/briefs/exclusive/pet_businesses_will_prosper)
So, to my daughter-in-law, “I say go for it! Customers will always continue to pamper their fur babies. Work on a marketing plan aimed at the 45 to 54 age group of pet parents who consider pets an important part of the family, to incorporate specialty foods and services as you have always talked about doing. You are more than capable of offering customized products and services to meet your most demanding pet parent’s requests. And don’t forget to reserve a booth at the Ottawa Pet Expo once you are ready to make your presence known!”
I am not someone who has ever treated a pet as one of my children, although every pet I have owned has been part of the family. I was sad when my pets died but definitely not devastated. What do you think about the idea of the “growing trend” in pet humanization? Is it real or simply trendy?
To end on a lighter note, there are several Facebook pages and YouTube videos devoted to commercials in which animals play a huge role. One of my favorite is from Subaru and can be seen by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvaQMzh7B30. Enjoy!