Understanding the activist pet food customer in 2018

Recent reports detail the effects of activist consumer behavior on the economic landscape.

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Rawpixel | Bigstock.com
Rawpixel | Bigstock.com

Shifting consumer attitudes are affecting the global economy more complexly than ever. Everything from the more concrete ecommerce to the more abstract changing generational lifestyle norms are throwing businesses into unfamiliar territory, and remaining successful in such a complicated landscape requires a nuanced knowledge of what consumers are thinking and feeling. The pet food industry, which depends on a customer base that has largely humanized their pets to an unprecedented degree, is just as caught up in this morphing global consumer scene as everyone else.

The activist consumer

According to Euromonitor International’s recent report, “Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018: Emerging Forces Shaping Consumer Behavior,” one trend to be on the lookout for in 2018 is “call-out culture” and the rise of the activist consumer. Never have consumers had such access to platforms to make their voices heard, and they’re making the most of it: social media such as Twitter and Tumblr, and petitioning platforms such as Change.org are giving consumers leverage they’ve never had before.

According to a Sprout Social report in the first quarter of 2017, consumers of all stripes are now making use of their 21st-century access to brands: 30 percent of millennials engage with a brand on social media at least one a month, seven in 10 Gen Xers will likely purchase something from a brand they follow online and 60 percent of Baby Boomers are looking for promotions on social media. What’s more, 71 percent of people are likely to buy a product after a good experience on social media.

But it isn’t just engagement consumers are looking for — they’re doing their research and aren’t afraid to make sure everyone knows how they feel about a brand, for good or ill. According to a Sprout Social report released in the third quarter of 2017, 46 percent of consumers have used social media to “call out” brands, and four in five consumers think social media has increased accountability for businesses. Here, millennials seem to be the stronger adopters: they are 43 percent more likely than other generations to call out a brand on social media.

How pet food is responding

In a January Petfood Industry feature focusing on 2018 trends, pet food experts named transparency and sustainability as two of the top three trends continuing to redefine the industry. With customers keeping an eagle eye on pet food practices at all levels, it’s no longer enough to just put a superior product on the shelves, and pet food companies know it. From transparent interaction with pet owners through social media to sustainable packaging, the industry is doing its best to provide pet food customers with the brand confidence they need to feel good about their purchases.

Briefly: The top 10 global consumer trends for 2018

Source: Euromonitor International, “Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018: Emerging Forces Shaping Consumer Behavior”

  1. Clean lifers
  2. The borrowers
  3. Call-out culture
  4. It’s in the DNA — I’m so special
  5. Adaptive entrepreneurs
  6. View in my roomers
  7. Sleuthy shoppers
  8. I-Designers
  9. Co-living
  10. The survivors

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