Despite recent increases in the popularity of social networking and digital marketing, almost half (47 percent) of pet owners believe that owning a pet is better for their social life than these social networking websites, according to new research from Mintel. But, the survey of pet owners found there are many opportunities in social media for the pet industry.
Mintel found that 16 percent of pet owners also said they are interested in using these new technologies to enhance relationships with their pets. One in 10 (12 percent) respondents say they use social media to learn about pet-related products and services, while 28 percent said they receive online or promotional discounts on their phones for pet-related products, and 17 percent said they would be interested in receiving promotions via smartphone.
"Whereas the pet shop owner used to be the prime touch point to find out how best to care for their pet, social media has become the new way for pet owners to explore and share experiences around their pet," said Gabi Lieberman, social media analyst at Mintel. "Further, as people take a more renewed interest in their own diets, we're seeing them pass along their own concerns about food ingredients, creating a market for gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan petfoods."
"Millenial" pet owners are most engaged with pet-related technology, with 17 percent saying they have a pet-related app on their smartphone or tablet (9 percent of pet owners overall). Additionally, 27 percent of that generation would like to receive promotions and coupons for pet care products that can be redeemed via their phone, and one in four (26 percent) are interested in technologies and innovations that foster a stronger pet-owner relationship.
"Brands are becoming very creative with their social media campaigns, using gimmicks like dogs on skateboards, celebrity endorsements and online cat awards to attract the attention of pet owners. It's one of the few categories where brands aren't actually marketing to the end user, and they're tapping into something very personal for people, so they have to be creative, and social media really allows them to do that," Lieberman said.