Region/Countries: Europe, United Kingdom Industry: Other Date: August 2022

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: A surge in pet ownership—and along with that, sales of pet accessories and supplies—offers opportunities to Wisconsin suppliers with unique products.

British people love their pets—and lately, more of them have pets to pamper, especially dogs and cats.

Nearly two of every three UK residents have a pet, according to a survey by the UK Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association. Of nearly 9,000 households polled, 62% include at least one pet, and in households with children, the figure is even higher: 77% have a pet, an increase of 12% from last year.

Dogs edge out cats as the most popular furry friends. According to estimates, more than 13 million dogs live with UK families—nearly twice as many as a decade ago, when the canine pet population was 7.6 million. Meanwhile, UK households have 12 million cats, and 11% of those surveyed have both a dog and a cat.

There are also 1.6 million indoor birds, 1.4 million domestic fowl, 1 million rabbits and a host of other animals sharing space with UK families.

And those pets are pampered. Dog owners spend an estimated £10 billion ($12.4 billion USD) a year or more on their pups while cat owners spend £8 billion ($9.9 billion USD) a year. Pet supply stores say consumer spending has jumped 32% over the past two years, and 42% of consumers are more likely to shop locally than they were before the pandemic.

In addition to online retailers, there are about 3,000 pet supply stores in the UK. Many are independent shops, but there are several large chain stores as well. The biggest by far is Pets at Home, which has 452 stores, many of them equipped with grooming salons and nearly all with some type of veterinary care. Nearly one-fourth of the UK’s total pet shop revenue goes to Pets at Home, which claims a 23% market share and recorded more than 60 million customer transactions in 2021. Other major chains include Pets Corner, with 150 stores, and Jollyes, with 70 retail shops.

Wisconsin companies in the pet food or pet supply industries could find opportunities in the UK market, as retailers are on the lookout for unique products that will bring customers through their doors—and their cash registers—first.