Pet humanisation and gifting continues to boost retail spending

Pawexpo helps retailers access this thriving profit opportunity

 With High Street spending declining, a downturn in employment and wages growth, as well as an imminent Brexit, you may think that the pet industry would also be suffering from cutbacks but instead it’s thriving as we enter the new decade.

The value of the UK pet products and services market is forecast to reach £7 billion by 2021 according to AMA Research, with British pet owners putting their animals’ contentment and happiness up there with their own.  Health and wellbeing will be the focus of the brand new Pawexpo, a new high-end pet-focused exhibition launching this September, supported by the team and co-located next to the annual Glee garden and outdoor living trade event (15th – 17th September, NEC Birmingham).

Designed with a wide range of pet retailers in mind – from traditional pet stores to garden centres, high street, independent gift store, and online to name but a few – Pawexpo will be the ultimate pet show experience putting pet care at the forefront of buyers’ minds and equipping them with the tools and knowledge to capitalise on this ever-growing industry sector.

Widespread ownership & pampering care

The most recent PDSA PAW Report revealed that 50% of UK adults own a pet and in 2019 it was estimated that there was a pet living in 12 million households.  A survey by MoreThan highlighted that pets have a positive influence on their owner’s lifestyle with 61% saying their pets make them feel happier and 55% offering real companionship.

The pet industry continues to boom with new companies entering the market with animal lovers treating their furry friends like members of their family.  This new wave, known as the ‘humanisation of domestic animals’, is fuelling rapid growth in this segment and will be instrumental in helping to drive growth for retailers who put a real focus on pet products in the year ahead.

Gifting for pets – a true profit opportunity for the retailers

Mintel research has revealed that 30% of millennial pet care owners (aged 19-38 years) like their pet to keep up with the latest trends through clothes and interior styling and these consumers would also spend just as much money on their pet at special events, such as Christmas or their birthday, as they would on a friend or family member.


Any retailer with a pet section can also boost sales in other categories such as gifting, with key periods such as Christmas and birthdays seeing owners lavish their animals with presents, as they would their own friends and relatives. Research shows as once in-store, pet owners will tend to spend more on add-ons such as treats and accessories.  Luxury pet hampers, orthopaedic animal beds with memory foam mattresses, sleeping bags and matching bowls have become luxury purchases as 66% of owners admit to buying gifts for their pet.


The craze for dressing up our pets also seems set to continue with owners spending, on average, nearly £200 a year on clothes.  Pet clothing couture has become fashionable in recent years with an increasing array of products on sale, from animal booties, coats, fancy dress costumes, tuxedos and hoodies for cats and dogs.  Easter and Halloween have seen a surge in sales as owners seek an adorable outfit for their pet – a glance at social media channels will demonstrate just how popular this trend has become – whilst Christmas has seen matching family pyjama sets including their canine and feline friends.


As our world becomes more automated, so do our pets with new and innovative products like fitness trackers and cameras that allow owners to watch, talk to, play and feed their pets.  Smartphone-controlled toys are also hitting the shelves to make looking after our animals easier with the touch of a button. Studies have shown that technology can affect a pet’s mental health, with mood and behaviour being improved with tools designed to encourage physical and mental stimulation, relaxation and engagement, especially in a time when working hours and commuting time continues to increase, meaning we are away from our pets more than ever.


Looking good

When it comes to other pet gifts and services, Mintel research shows that pet health check-ups (17%) and pet grooming (16%) lead the way. A trim blow dry with luxury shampoos, a freshen up with scented spritzes are now the norm with parlours and franchises appearing in retailers across the country. Animal lovers can also indulge their four-legged friends further with a range of massages, and even Pilates classes especially designed for them.   The popularity of grooming as a pamper treat, and the ongoing human habits and lifestyles that pets have adopted have resulted in a social media sensation with hashtags such as #PetsofInstagram flooding the platform as proud owners show off their furry, fluffy and feathered friends online.


Well-fed pets

The pet food industry is worth approximately £3 billion in the UK and the latest trend dominating the pet food scene is the imitation of human food. Premium pet food has become increasingly important for owners as an they splash out on both nutritional and indulgent foods for their pampered pooches. Where raw food once led the way, pet food manufacturers are now tapping into wider human trends including organic and the slightly more controversial, veganic, diet solutions hitting the shelves, providing more choice and a wider range of price points helping retailers to differentiate their offering.


Demand for craft pet food and delectable delights such as sausages, casseroles, artisan dog bakery treats, popcorn, ice lollies and even foie gras has grown significantly in recent years. This product category will also only soar further as owners become more educated about how much to feed their animals and perceive the nutritional needs of their pets in a similar light to their own.


Pet supplements – such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, meal supplements and other similar products – is also proving big business, with a recent TechNavio market research report stating that the UK market is currently valued at £100 million and is set to benefit from an annual growth projection of 7%. The reason for this is because pet owners are increasingly concerned about the health and comfort of their pets, in turn urging them to spend more on high-end food products and associated supplements and vitamins to increase their pets’ life expectancy and avoid age-associated problems. What’s more, veterinary endorsement of such supplements is driving demand as consumers buy into this professional support of such products.  Finally, the access to pet nutritional supplements is becoming increasingly easier, with supermarkets, vets, pet stores and online retailers all offering consumer solutions, in doing so are increasing the reach of this thriving product group.


Matthew Mein, Event Director said: “Pawexpo is a new event which puts pet care and wellbeing in the spotlight and is dedicated to showcasing the best of British and overseas pet suppliers. The event has been developed so retailers can capitalise on the increasing “pet-pound” trend. However, at Pawexpo we’ll be doing things a little differently. The show will not merely be about products for the sake of products, instead we’ll work closely with our exhibitors to develop a beautifully curated showcase of the latest innovations and bestselling products; products that will help drive sales and can be quickly added to store for instant impact that meets consumer demand.


“What’s more, Pawexpo is designed to offer a new sense of energy, creativity and business support that pet suppliers and retailers have been looking for. Pawexpo will create a real community, where suppliers and retailers can come together to grow their business together, as well as offering unrivalled networking and educational content. The show will also work to help suppliers to cut through the noise relating to key trends and influences, making it easier for them to optimise them within their own business. We’re excited about what the show can achieve for the pet product sector.”


Find out more

To find out more about Pawexpo please visit, where the latest news from the show can also be found. To enquire about exhibiting at Pawexpo 2020 call +44 (0)203 3545 9752.



For more information, interviews or images please contact:

Kimberley Hornby, Pawexpo PR Team, Hornby Whitefoot PR

Tel: 07851 610573 Email:


About Hyve Group plc
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