Late marriages and a growing population of singles and childless households are demographic and cultural changes that encourage greater integration of pets into households as substitutes for children.
While couples with children spend a large part of their income on things like housing, food and education, couples without children or single people invest more time and money in their careers, which leaves them with more resources to spend on goods, services and pets .
Nielsen statistics show that singles or couples without children spend between 1,500 and 5,000 pesos a month on services related to lodging, food, hairdressing services and even therapies for pets.
“Many young people prefer pets to a spouse or partner,” he says in an analysis by the consultancy Research and Market.
Companion animals have gone from being in places outside the home, such as rooftops and gardens, to occupy a space inside homes and integrate into homes.
“The theme of humanization was already present, however, the pandemic came and that generated a family ecosystem that included pets. The relationship became stronger”, says Alejandro Ahuad, director of Petco in Mexico. “The stronger the bond, the more willing the consumer is to spend more on this family member,” he adds in an interview with Expansión .
From functional croquettes -added with a specific ingredient that offers a specific benefit to the animal’s health-, to services such as schools, hotels, spas and specialized clinics have emerged in recent years. Even some apartment buildings already have pet amenities.
Alejandro Ahuad, from Petco, explained that, although food is the category with the greatest dynamism, accessories related to the welfare of pets are the second category in growth. There are for pets, but also for humans, such as training courses or accessories to clean the hair of dogs or cats.
Petco intends to continue to gain a piece of the market. The strategy for now, after growing with the large stores, in which they offer beauty, veterinary and training services, is to bet on the Express stores, which are smaller in size with an offer of food, clothing and other accessories, such as beds, houses and food, given that this size of premises will allow the company to reach places with high demand, such as the Condesa neighborhood in Mexico City, where there is a large concentration of companion pets.
Petco expects to close this year with 12 new stores and by 2023 they plan to cut the bar for 10 more units.
“In the future, more categories of care will be added, even to care for our pets when they die, a category that is growing along with hotels and the issue of nurseries, walks and everything that has to do with health and well-being” says the CEO of Petco.
The company, which opened its first store in Mexico in October 2013, is one of those that managed to grow along with the market. Today it has a hundred stores. Sales have grown at double digits annually since the first store opened in Mexico.
Ahuad says that one of the strategies that has allowed Petco to attract pet owners -dogs, cats and even birds- is to bring information closer through talks with experts about actions to maintain a healthy relationship with pets.
“When people live with their pet inside their house, they have to learn to live with it to establish a good relationship in which neither the owner nor the dog or cat gets frustrated and that is where we come in”, he says.
Specialized retail, in addition to premium pet food, saw growth in its pet training classes. For Ahuad, this is the result of the confinement forcing people to spend more time with their pets inside their homes, a trend that has continued since then.
Functional food, a growing category
Paola Delgado, who directs the marketing area at ADM Animal Nutrition, the company that markets the Ganador and Minino brands, comments that they have grown 6% in volume and 85% in value, as part of the evolution of the market, while visualizing a sophistication in the category, thanks to the fact that people are willing to spend more for the well-being of their pets.
Data from the consulting firm Research and Market show that the pet food market in Mexico was worth 3.3 billion dollars in 2020 and will grow at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 5.4% between 2021 and 2026.