Mark Harrop Business Development Manager

May 03

Businesses and insurers need to wake up to pet power

Consumer brands that start to recognise the amazing potential of ‘pet power’ will win the emotional marketing battle, according to global pet insurance technologist, Aquarium software.

It’s time for more hotels, restaurants and venues to start accepting bookings for pets, or accept that the enormous spending power of pet parents will go somewhere else, says Aquarium. 

Pets have graduated to family status in the United Kingdom in recent years and Aquarium has been fascinated by the ways in which affection for pets has begun to mirror attitudes in the United States. ‘Pet cafes’ have started to spring up all over the world, not only for mainstream cats and dogs, but for parrots, and even hedgehogs! Aquarium is quick to recognise the ways in which the pet industry has been boosted by the introduction of pets into the family home, creating vast wealth through our pampering beyond maintenance of our mutts.

The pet economy is currently worth a £6bn spend in the UK, and with this financial muscle showing no sign of any let-up, businesses and insurers could do well to better understand the psychology of the pet owner, and provide services that meet their needs.

Mark Colonnese, Sales and Marketing director at Aquarium Software, believes the shift from pets as a sedentary household accessory to a fully paid up member of the family is a huge positive for both pet and owner. “Whilst America has always been pet-crazy, Britain has always maintained a slightly more reserved outlook. It was once famously said that ‘we can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals’. It might become true in the future that ‘we can judge the commercial acumen of businesses and insurers by their engagement with pet parents.”  

In America, the pet industry is set to be worth $62 billion dollars in 2016, and specialised dog parks and menus for dogs in restaurants are not uncommon. The USA’s affection for pets is driven by a sense of family that a dog gives, it provides a symbol of home, protection and affection in their companionship. This sentiment has now transferred to the UK, where it is not exceptional to see families buying their pets Christmas presents, cooking them special food or pampering them. In other words, we have fully welcomed pets into our pack.

A study carried out in 2015 revealed that expenditure on British pets has increased 25% from 2010, when it reached approximately $7 billion (£4.6Bn), further evidence of strong growth in Britain’s love for its pets. The trend has even seen dog-friendly establishments pop up in the capital, with institutions such as George, in Mayfair, the first exclusive members club to welcome dogs and indulge them with a treat or two, and Gaucho, in Hampstead, which always accommodate for furry friends. The culture around dogs is certainly changing and with this change owners can no longer be so limited in their ability to spend quality time with their mutt.