Millennials are the reason for lots of jokes. While some are completely false and just for laughs, others are true. Those that hold truth give insight into trends that affect everything from the stock market to the global economy. One area that may be surprising for many is the booming pet industry, with expert analysts pointing the finger at millennials and their need to fill particular voids.
The pet industry has exploded recently, turning into a nearly $230 billion industry. The increase has grown right along with the generation X, as they continue to cross and erase the lines between human and animal. This industry is going nowhere and only expected to grow along with the humanization of furry creatures.
Just like any trend, no matter how crazy it may seem, businesses are banking on it. Large industries like Walmart have added clinics to their stores, giving customers a place to take their pets and shop. Several chefs have jumped on the bandwagon, creating gourmet meals for pets that use fresh ingredients. Purina just made a deal with the popular mother and TV chef known as Pioneer Woman, releasing a line of healthy snacks and meals for the pet that is part of the family.
Behavioral scientists and sociologists have been interested in generational differences for some time now. One thing that they see differently from previous generations is the later age that millennials are beginning to start their ‘lives’ getting married later than ever and delaying starting a family. What’s this have to do with pets? You may ask. Well, a lot. Scientists have claimed that this is the very reason why pets have begun to lead more human style lives, as millennials use them to fill voids from subconscious emotions that they might not understand how to deal with.
Pets have always been known to be there for emotional support. With advances in technology and less actual human interaction, humankind is turning to their furry friends, using them in times of heightened emotions. It is not uncommon to spend time with a friend in silence, keeping your focus on your phone and enjoying online presence. People these days like to be in their own world, keeping their ears plugged with headphones, their minds focused on their friends’ list, and their favorite activity becoming binge-watching Netflix. Nowadays, people from all generations and all over the world are more stressed than ever. It is also nothing new that there is a worldwide problem with drug abuse, even recognized by POTUS Donald Trump as part of a 2019 speech. This is one of the many reasons for this new trending treatment of animals. To forget the stresses that life brings like work, relationships, debt, depression, and more; pets are there.
A Changing Industry
Traditional dog foods and products of the past are all taking a hit as trends begin to change. A report released by the wall Street Journal reported that the sale of more traditional foods and products began to fall in 2018. This came right around the time that the pet industry saw increases in luxury and gourmet products. This trend has caused the humanization of 4-legged friends, showing how now owners want to give their animals the best.
Nowadays, it is common to find foods with fancy labels, with labels boasting about the carefully selected ingredients and flavors used to create a unique bag of food. Starbucks has a ‘puppy cup’ giving pets an exciting adventure to look forward to as their owners make them part of the experience. Everything from food to clothing to bags and carriers, there is a quite apparent shift in the treatment of pets.
What’s this Trend Expected to Do
As far as what the future holds, analysts seem to think the new human roles given to animals are here to stay. As a matter of fact, it is predicted to grow, and the industry set to boom right along with it. It is not uncommon to walk along the street with dogs dressed in designer clothing and rocking blinged-out collars. In some areas, you‘ll see people pushing their pets in strollers, carrying them like children, speaking to them, treating them exactly like they would a child, or a good friend.
Because of this new sentiment, businesses from all over the market have started to change up their strategies. The original objective is to attempt to break into the industry to begin taking advantage of this trend that is not going anywhere anytime soon. This is also set to increase right along with the new shift in health consciousness. There is now more of an emphasis on health and wellbeing, with more individuals focusing on what they eat, drink, and do. This also has increased the presence of animals, as health-conscious individuals see them as the perfect companion to accompany them on long outdoor adventures or even just daily walks.
As far as the industry goes, 2020 is set to be a big year for the pet industry, with as the economy heals and consumption increases. Those with pets can expect to have a lot of new things to consider when it comes to the health and wellbeing of their pets. Those who are not already on the bandwagon are sure to hop on soon, with some trends just too irresistible to pass up.
Long Term Effects?
As far as affects behavior, scientists are unsure and have not yet begun to warn the public about this shift of emotional connection. For now, this trend is one to laugh at when it comes to older generations but is an overall positive one. Not only can furry friends help combat emotional issues but also bring an added sense of purpose and joy to their lives of owners that may be difficult to come by these days. Only time will tell what effects this trend may have, but for now, let’s take in all the cuteness and cuddle these little ‘humans’ as much as we can.