As convenience stores stock up on gifts for last-minute holiday shoppers, they would be wise to include some stocking stuffers for furry family members.
These days stocking stuffers and bow-wrapped presents are increasingly extending to non-human loved ones especially in the growing market for cat and dog toys, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in the brand new report “Durable Dog and Cat Petcare Products in the U.S.”
In the report, pet toys for dogs and cat encompasses a wide range of product types, styles and materials, from simple rubber and rope toys to high-tech items designed to help keep the pet active and entertained while the owner is away, in addition to cat scratchers and play furniture—a lucrative industry.
Thank—or perhaps blame—the influx of trends stemming from the human/animal bond for the uptick in seasonal pet toys. The U.S. pet market has already seen some of the biggest celebrity names cross over from the human side, including Martha Stewart, who’s PetSmart exclusive line of toys, leashes, bedding, collars, grooming supplies, and apparel includes seasonal Christmas themed items for our furry friends. Likewise, Allure Pet Products which features Barnyard and Woodland animals, in addition to its HuggleHound Knotties, has been known to produce special holiday characters such as a Santa Sock Monkey Knottie and a Santa Knottie in festive red and white for Christmas stocking stuffers.
Beyond the holidays, giving pet toys is really a year-round delight for many pet parents. Toys for dogs and cats comprise 28% of the overall durable petcare products market. Packaged Facts estimates that during 2016, dog and cat toys in the U.S. racked up retail sales of approximately $1 billion, up from $849 million in 2011, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4%. Strong pet toy sales are projected to continue to advance through 2020, with a forecasted 3% CAGR.
Packaged Facts’ 2016 National Pet Owner Surveys indicate that toys are the most frequently purchased type of durable petcare product, opening the wallets of 43% of dog owners and 27% of cat owners in the last 12 months. In addition, the survey revealed that for dog and cat owners alike, pleasing the pet (“pet will love it”) is a top consideration in toy product purchasing, with other factors including product quality (“will last a long time,” “high quality”) and product safety.
New product activity in pet toys over the past few years makes it clear that pet marketers and retailers are in touch with these shopper predilections and preferences, simultaneously shaping and catering to them. The promise of fun and human/pet interaction are paramount, with product marketing often positioning directly on the human/animal bond and featuring happily engaged people and pets. Additional and often related themes in pet toy marketing and new product development include health-focused/exercise products, human-style products, better quality materials—durability is of paramount importance, high-tech features, and natural/eco-friendly attributes.