Gaining a deeper understanding of the owner-pet relationship could help inform marketing and activation programmes for both pet and non-pet products, according to consumer insight agency Engage Research.
It was commenting after news that Tesco has expanded its Christmas gifts for pets range from twelve items last year to 50 this year, and, together with Aldi, Ocado and Amazon, is among the retailers stocking Pawsecco, a still ‘wine’ for dogs and cats.
Other products now available include a dog ‘beer’ called Bottom Sniffer, a meat-flavoured ‘beer’ called Snuffle and a catnip ‘wine’ called Pinot Meow. Waitrose even has a dog advent calendar on sale.
This expansion in the Christmas pet gift category comes at a time when other research has revealed that British pet owners are twice as willing to cut back on their own food than they are on their pet’s and that sales of premium cat and dog food are booming.
“Brands would be wise to take a look at our attitudes towards our pets because it impacts on not only how we shop for them but also for ourselves. By tapping into the owner-pet relationship and understanding the dynamic there even non-pet brands could be able to turn that relationship to their own advantage,” explains Engage Research’s Lyndsay Peck.
“The UK pet food industry is now worth around £3 billion and 12 million UK households have a pet. If we know that pet owners would rather cut back on their own food than their pets’, then this could present a way to engage with owners.”
Peck adds that qualitative research among pet owners, much of which could be undertaken cost effectively online, could be used by brands to explore more deeply the owner’s purchasing intentions when it comes to themselves, their families and their pets.
The insights that this produces – around, for example, where non-pet products are positioned relative to pet products in-store, can be used by retailers and brands – pet and non-pet alike – to inform both marketing and activation programmes not only in the run-up to Christmas but all year round.