4 Pet Industry Trends of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close and we welcome 2019 into our lives and calendars, we thought we’d take a look back at the trends we, among others, have noticed in our Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies stores over the past 12 months. We have been fortunate to have a huge loyal following that we love and appreciate so much and in 2019 we intend to bring you more resources, events, and quality foods and supplies than ever before. So stick with us as we take a quick review of 2018!

E-Commerce Continues to Expand


The 2018 U.S. pet industry is estimated to be at $72.13 billion, increasing from $69.51 billion last year. As technology continues to make things easier for younger generations, pet stores are worried about being squeezed out of their communities by the improved capabilities of giants like Chewy and Amazon, and the continued growth of services like Barkbox. At Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies, we know that there are no online services or buyer programs that can replace the experience of taking your fur family to their favorite pet store, and we work extremely hard to make sure every pet and their people feel loved and welcomed (respectively) in our stores. Nonetheless, those that haven’t positioned themselves to market, serve, and provide digitally will be left behind.

Natural/Organic Is Preferred

Natural products of all sorts and sizes continue their growth nationwide. Consumers, particularly younger generations, have become more conscious and improving and sustaining the health of their pets and the planet. Information on product and food origins and makeup is more readily available and accessible than ever before. Everything from pet food, treats, toys, gear, healthcare, grooming, day care and more will be under scrutiny by the pet loving consumers. Therefore, we believe that, as we’ve seen over the past few years, a demand for healthier options for pets will continue to grow, from pet food and treats, to supplements, toys, gear and more….Made in the US, organic, safe, eco-friendly, green, non-GMO, etc etc will be in demand. In addition, manufacturers with increased transparency in ingredients and processes in manufacturing and in the service of pets will have advantages over those companies who don’t readily disclose. The top-selling natural pet products are:

  • Holistic cat and dog food

  • Cat litter

  • Natural flea and tick repellents

  • Holistic grooming products such as the blueberry facial for dogs

  • Products for older pets, particularly for dogs

  • Toys made with natural fibers

Just as we as humans have changed the way we think about health, wellness, healthcare and senior care, so have we begun to look differently at the health and care of our pets. In addition, because of advanced in care over the years, pets are living longer than they ever have in history! That’s great news for us humans.

Specialty Services are On The Rise

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) predicted that spending in this arena would increase from $510 billion for 2013 to $620 billion in 2016. The demand for high-end pet grooming services is expected to continue to be particularly brisk. Other pet services that continue to grow in popularity are:

  • Dog training

  • Upscale and holistic spa services such as “paw-tinctures,” Reiki and pet massage

  • Pet behavioral consulting

  • Pet portrait photography

  • Pet sitting

  • Dog walking

  • Enrichment training

Another pet enterprise that is gaining a lot of popularity is the self-serve dog wash and mobile pet-grooming. In addition to offering ease and convenience for pet owners, these businesses offer many unique retail opportunities. Ultimately, it provides a higher degree of comfort, flexibility, and a bonding experience to dog owners. To a lesser degree, unique niche services such as yoga for dogs and pet psychic communicators are in-demand industry trends. In and of themselves, these services are not huge. They do, however, offer great potential as promotional services to increase a pet business’s visibility and ability to attract more store traffic.

Pets as Humans Has Peaked (Maybe)

The distinction of the humanization of pets has reached its realization. Yes, pets are a part of our family, we get it. The changing demographic of prolific pet owners, i.e., the millennial demographic and younger generations, also the upcoming pet product and service power purchasers, don’t know pets in any other way. We all love our pets deeply, and for those reasons we continue to go the extra mile for them when it comes to their care.

There are a number of other areas of business that continue to grow as a result of this humanization. Many of our Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies customers have noticed the increased number of pets on planes, primarily dogs. Pet-friendly travel has gone paw-in-hand with the growth of emotional support pets, and these concepts have allowed other business ventures to flourish in the vacation and hospitality industries. Pets can now come along on vacations and are generally more welcome and commonly seen occupying their own seat on a plane. Informational resources and applications have sprung up around these industries. An increasing number of hotels, motels, and inns, including New York’s posh Carlton Hotel, now welcome pets. It’s a very smart move for those who wish to facilitate business growth and it’s sure to remain a red-hot industry trend for a long time to come.

Pet health insurance has risen, to the detriment of veterinary services. Although available in the U.S. for a good 30 years, sales of pet policies have only begun to accelerate in recent times. This trend is expected to proliferate dramatically and offer the enhanced potential for pet business growth due to a number of factors.

  • People increasingly regard their pets as beloved family members.

  • Pets (like people) are living longer, requiring more complex and extended medical care.

  • Advances in veterinary technology have resulted in more costly, but more successful, veterinary care.

Want to chat about these trends? Have any you’ve noticed? We’d love to hear about them and we’re more than happy to chat about our world! Stop by your local Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies in Ann Arbor, MI (2425 W. Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103) or Chelsea, MI (1192 S. Main St, Chelsea, MI, 48118) to keep the conversation going. We’ll see you in 2019!