Pet services

Is hard-hit dog grooming and other pet services rebounding in 2021? | Blogs

With one exception, all sectors of the U.S. pet industry not only resisted COVID-19, but also performed better in 2020 than in previous years, sales of pet food and treats. pets surging 15 percent to $ 44.4 billion, non-food pet supplies up 17 percent to $ 22.6 billion, and veterinary services up 7 percent to 32 , $ 3 billion, contributing to 9 percent growth for the entire industry. The exception was for non-medical pet services, as Americans trapped at home were unlikely to need the help of pet sitters and walkers, let alone boarding houses and daycare.

Emblematic of closures triggered by a pandemic, reduced hours of operation and staff, layoffs and social distancing, home shelters also put a strain on professional grooming services as pet owners with free time and animals on their knees have turned to DIY pet supplies, including retail grooming and oral care products, with group dog training classes also taking a social distancing blow. Pulled back by the headwinds of the pandemic, sales of non-medical pet services fell 22% in 2020 to $ 8.1 billion, from $ 10.4 billion in 2019, insurance alone pet market and the small downturn-defying “other” segment. The two travel-related segments, boarding and sitting / walking, suffered the most, registering 45% and 35% respectively, with declines for other types of services of around 10 to 15%. The news isn’t all bad, however. Early predictions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the non-medical pet services industry placed the expected losses much higher.

The rebound ability of pet services is due in part to one of the same dynamics that drive home pet care: Pet owners with closer contact with their pets tend to be more in tune with the health care needs of their furry family members, including for professional grooming services. According to Carmen Rustenbeck, CEO and founder of the International Boarding & Pet Services Association, when stay-at-home orders were relaxed after the first wave of COVID-19, grooming services were the offering of pet care services. most requested pet, and as the recovery continues, Rustenbeck predicted “a return to daycare followed by boarding, as parents of pets return to travel and, for some, their commutes” in a February 2021 Pet Business article. As this observation takes into account, pent-up demand in the latter part of the year likely helped offset losses in business during the spring and summer shutdowns, as did the pent-up demand will be a major driver of rebound going forward.

The relative resilience of the non-medical pet services industry also reflects the proactive stance of major pet retailers like PetSmart, Petco and Pet Supplies Plus, which have implemented safety measures such as more thorough cleanings and more frequent stores and new or improved air filter systems when grooming. lounges. During the pandemic’s spring peak, PetSmart and Petco scaled back their service offerings, but by mid-summer both operations had rebounded significantly, helping to offset a potentially much larger impact on their own bottom line and on the market. set of grooming activity. Although more severely reduced by COVID-19 due to health-related personnel issues, independent pet retailers and service providers have also followed the pandemic punches, promoting private and distanced laundry rooms socially and implementing the collection / drop-off of pets in the open air “concierge. On the training side, the self-employed have organized group and / or outdoor lessons at a social distance, and / or reduced group lessons for the benefit of training one-on-one or remotely, helping some trainers expand their geographic reach. “It’s amazing that I now have clients in California, Florida and Kansas City who just found me online,” said Mark Forrest Patrick , a dog trainer in Rochester, NY who is also chairman of the board of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, as reported by The New York Times on 19 February.

The growing involvement of retailers large and small seeking to isolate their physical activities from the further encroachment of e-commerce, the growth of online service providers like Rover and Wag !, and the increase in animal acquisition companionship caused by the pandemic and an increased focus on health and wellness. Perhaps the best news of all for the non-medical pet services industry is that, with Americans resuming more regular lifestyles, business and leisure travel is rebounding even faster than expected. bodes well for pet boarding and sitting / walking.

“Major airlines this week reiterated their confidence that the travel market, at least for leisure, is rebounding from heavy losses suffered during the coronavirus pandemic,” The Wall Street Journal reported on April 22, noting further that “the industry is on a faster track to a recovery than some executives thought possible in January, when cases of Covid-19 increased and the outlook for airlines looked bleak.” “

These trends are in addition to the same favorable winds that have boosted pet services for years, including high-income households that have long been the source of much of the discretionary spending in the U.S. pet industry. pets as a whole, aging populations of pets and people, both generally requiring an increasing level of assistance and participation in the market of extraordinarily pet-centric millennials. Overall, this is a formula for a strong rebound in 2021, when sales of non-medical pet services are expected to increase by nearly 20%, and with a compound annual growth rate of 14%. , nearly doubling sales from $ 8.1 billion in 2020 to $ 15.8 billion. billion in 2025.

David Lummis is the Senior Pet Market Analyst for Packaged Facts, a division of, whose latest pet market report is Pet Services in the United States.

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