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Canadian Pet Owners - Canada - September 2015

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Published Date : Sep 2015

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Pets are common among Canadian households. The relationship between owners and their pets runs deep, driving an approach to care akin to that of a parent and their child. As pet owners feel that the benefits of owning a pet far outweigh the work involved, they are often willing to spontaneously spend discretionary dollars on treats and toys, though their approach to foods is met with much scrutiny. Events celebrating the emotional bond (eg birthdays or doggie triathlons) will generate engagement with pet owners.

Table of Content


What you need to know

Executive Summary

The issues
Owners are concerned about ingredients in pet food
Figure 1: Attitudes towards pet ownership (selected statements), June 2015
Shouldering more responsibilities increases enjoyment
Figure 2: Agreement with “Having a pet improves the quality of a person’s life” (any agree), by age of children at home, June 2015
Perceived cost of pet care is prohibitive to ownership
Figure 3: Barriers to pet ownership: “Pet care is too expensive”, by age, June 2015
The opportunities
Personalized deals via emails are of interest among owners
Figure 4: Agreement with “I am interested in receiving coupons by email for pet supplies or pet food” (any agree), by age and gender, June 2015
Pet owners are looking for quality in food products and will want proof
Figure 5: Attitudes towards pet ownership (selected statements), June 2015
Promoting physical activity for owners and their dogs
Future consideration is strong among owners
Figure 6: Those planning on getting another pet in the future, by age, June 2015
What it means

The Market – What You Need to Know

Population shifts should benefit the pet industry
The cost of pet food and supplies will continue to rise
Wavering consumer confidence may impact spontaneous purchases of treats and toys

Market Factors

Demographic shifts favour pet ownership
Figure 7: Population aged 65 years and over in Canada, historical and projected (% of total), 1971-2061
Growth of the LGBT community & rise of single parent households
Figure 8: Distribution and percentage change of census families, by family structure, 2001-11
Cost of pet food and supplies likely to continue rising
Figure 9: Monthly movements in selected major components of the Canadian Consumer Price Index, seasonally adjusted, 2010-15
Recent economic activities have negatively impacted consumer confidence
Figure 10: Consumer Confidence Index, monthly, January 2008-January 2015

Key Players – What You Need to Know

Businesses are finding ways to honour the bond
Industry advertising efforts rely on standard themes

What’s New?

Improving pet travel: The Ark, JFK Airport’s newest terminal
Figure 11: Planned resort for dogs at JFK airport, June 2015
Sharing the pet experience: Shared ownership programs
Two can play at this game: Keeping owners and dogs fit with Woof Fit Mini Triathlon
Marketing to the relationship: American Beagle and MAC Cosmetics
Figure 12: MAC Cosmetics Haute Dog collection, June 2015
Technological hookups for dogs and their owners: Tindog

Marketing Strategies

Celebrating the emotional bond
Figure 13: HomeAway, “A Whole Vacation” Part 1 and 2, 2015
PetSafe Canada
Attributing human and animal characteristics to each other
Figure 14: Purina, “I Get Beggin”, 2015
Greenies Dental Dog Treat
Figure 15: Greenies, “Dental dog treat”, 2015
Equating quality of food with love
Cesar – Night Shift
Figure 16: Cesar, “Night Shift”, 2015
Purina Puppy Chow – Bandit’s Fun in the Kitchen
Figure 17: Purina, “Bandit’s Fun in the Kitchen”, 2015

The Consumer – What You Need to Know

Pets are common in Canadian households
For pet owners, the benefits far outweigh the efforts involved
Owners are choosy about ingredients of pet foods
Veterinarians are the primary source for advice
Cost and responsibility are barriers for non-pet owners, though future consideration is strong among Millennials

Pet Ownership

Nearly two thirds of Canadians have pets
Figure 18: Pet ownership, June 2015
Pets and children are a typical combination in Canadian households
Women are more likely to be pet owners
Associated costs impact pet ownership
Cats are popular among French speakers and the LGBT community
Future consideration is strong among owners
Figure 19: Those planning on getting another pet in the future, by age, June 2015

Pet Care Responsibility and Impact on Quality of Life

Pet care responsibility primarily lies with one individual
Figure 20: Care responsibility, by age and gender, June 2015
Pets bring joy and are worth the effort
Figure 21: Attitudes towards pet ownership (selected statements), June 2015
The benefits of pet ownership are vast
Pets really can be one’s best friend
Companionship is valuable to older Canadians
Ownership teaches responsibility and encourages physical activity
Pet ownership is not without its challenges, though efforts are worth it
Sharing of pet care responsibilities elevates enjoyment

Pet Acquisition

Pets are acquired through various means
Figure 22: Pet acquisition, June 2015
Opportunities to be had upon starting pet ownership
At the start of the process – A qualitative look

Approach to Pet Food Purchase

Owners are concerned about the quality of pet food
Figure 23: Attitudes towards pet ownership (selected statements), June 2015
Ingredients matter – A qualitative look
The proof is in the (meat) pudding
Women and more affluent shoppers will look for age-appropriate products
Figure 24: Agreement with “I tend to buy products that are designed for my pet's age” (any agree), by gender, June 2015

Shopping for Treats and Celebrations

Pet owners shop spontaneously for their pets and seek discounts via email
Figure 25: Attitudes towards pet ownership (selected statements), June 2015
Opportunities abound with women pet owners
The emotional engagement of rewards extends into purchases for pets
Figure 26: Agreement with “I am interested in receiving coupons by email for pet supplies or pet food” (any agree), by age and gender, June 2015

Trusted Sources for Information

Veterinarians are the primary source for advice
Figure 27: Attitudes towards pet ownership (selected statements), June 2015
Other sources are considered
Quebecers more inclined to trust celebrity pet experts

Dog Owners’ Interest in Pet Services

Adoption of services outside of grooming is low
Figure 28: Pet services used or interested in, June 2015
Traveling with pets is big business
Pet boarding and sitting services are of interest among affluent dog owners
Pet health insurance sees interest but cost is prohibitive
Parents are keen on services that add ease
Figure 29: Pet services used or interested in, by parental status, June 2015

Non-pet Owners – Barriers and Future Consideration

Responsibility and cost are prohibitive factors to ownership
Figure 30: Barriers to pet ownership, June 2015
Older Canadians have unique considerations
Millennials are interested in future pet ownership
Figure 31: Future pet ownership – Non-pet owners, June 2015
Options are available to those looking for less commitment
Raising awareness of pet sharing services
Enticing ownership with easier to care for animals
Keeping pet adoption top of mind

Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

Data sources
Consumer survey data
Consumer qualitative research
Abbreviations and terms

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