April 11, 2014: Pet Opportunities

We’ve discussed pet opportunities before on TrendCast, about the sudden surge in demand for Halloween costumes and how to help them lose weight. But when it comes to pets, the opportunities just keep on coming.

The Humane Society of the United States says pet ownership in America is skyrocketing. In the 1970s about 67 million households owned a pet; in 2012 (the latest stats) 164 million households include pets (that’s 62 percent of all U.S. households), which includes more than 83 million dogs and 96 million cats.

In addition to these numbers, The New York Times recently noted there’s been a shift, a “changed mind-set” driving spending on pets–spending that hit nearly $56 billion last year. The newspaper reports “many pet owners are treating their dogs and cats as if they were children.”

The spectacular numbers have, The Times says, “encouraged a wave of innovation, with many products and services incorporating sophisticated technologies.” In fact, the nation’s changing demographics is feeding the trend. Laird Koldyke, the founder and managing director of Winona Capital Management, told The Times pet ownership is fueled by “young professionals, who are waiting longer to marry and have children, and empty-nesters, whose children have grown and left.” Koldyke also attributes “rising education and income levels” to increased spending on high-end pet products.

The boom is so big that both venture capitalists and angel investors are investing big dollars in smaller companies offering innovative products and services for pets.