Male Millennials and Their Dogs

Goals

To understand why male millennials would purchase dog supplements.

Early Findings

  • Gray Chapman, a 'male millennial' contributor for Vox, writes about his motivations to contribute to the $636 million pet supplement industry. He writes, "I do these things because I love my dogs deeply and care about their health, obviously, but I suspect it’s also for more selfish reasons: I simply need them to live forever....largely because confronting their mortality is worse than thinking about my own."
  • He also cites a study from Packaged Facts which found that dog owners spent four times as much on supplements as cat owners.
  • Additionally, the rise in human supplement-taking is directly contributing to the growth in pet supplements. Millennials lead a unique phenomenon called "humanization" (treating pets like children).
  • Millennials also tend to be more money conscious, and when faced with the choice of a potential five-figure vet bills or a small amount of preventative supplements, this makes supplements seem not as indulgent. Millennials may spend less money overall that their baby boomer counterparts, but they are a "more sophisticated consumer", choosing their spending more wisely. As one expert states, "younger consumers just 'think differently about what is essential.' Their 'greater understanding of the products, of what goes into the product, turns something that seems irrational to a boomer … and really makes it a rational choice.'"
  • Importantly, 82% of millennials viewed having a pet as a way of preparing to have a family (compared to only 59% of baby boomers). This represents an important shift in how millennials view their pets.
  • The growth of social media, as well, has led to greater visibility in how millennials take care of their pets. One expert puts it, "what you buy for the pet takes on greater meaning, because in theory, the suitability of your purchases will be observed by others."
  • There is a growing distrust in pet food labels, which could increase those looking at supplementation as a way to appease any perceived deficiencies in diet.
  • One article explains, "Pet owners want to buy the pet food which not only fits the exact nutritional need of their pet but also caters to their personal ethics, beliefs and values. E-commerce only increases this. A pet owner can now shop online for the brands he feels are right for him and his pet"..."Demand for convenience, traceability, sustainability and clean labels are all having an impact on the plethora of options available. Pet parents are becoming increasingly aware that the right diet can help their pets live longer, happier lives and they are embracing the diet they believe will accomplish that. A belief that ingredients must be biologically appropriate drives demand for species-appropriate ingredients that mimic the natural, wild-prey diet of their pet’s ancestors."
  • Millennials perceive the terms "natural" and "organic" as safer and prefer to purchase over pharmaceutical pet medicine.
  • Trends in pet supplements directly follow behind human supplement trends. This is due to the fact that as humans become more familiar and educated on certain supplements, they naturally turn to the benefits it can provide for their pets.
  • Broadly, the majority of the research is on consumer perceptions of pet food, especially the increase in natural/organic/raw/grain-free-type food. However, certain insights on consumer attitudes towards pet food can be extrapolated for pet supplements as well.

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