I am down at Brown Bag’s Atlanta headquarters for some meetings and more importantly, training of some new folk that have joined our team. As we bring on new hires for training to work in this fun world of animal health, I look back at numbers, stats, data and all that “oh so fun” stuff and see just how this industry has grown. I know it has taken some hits (I would be willing to bet that most industries have), but when you look at year-after-year growth it is rather amazing.
Despite the bad economy, high unemployment and all the craziness going on around us, consumers are still willing to spend money on their pets. Industry sales for 2011 are on track and estimated to be up some from 2010, which was up from 2009, which was up from 2008 etc., etc. In fact, going back to 1996, the industry has had an increase in total pet expenditures by consumers each year – Quite impressive.
There are many factors as to why there is an increase (perhaps that’s another blog for another day???), but the one main reason is that pet owners treat their pets like family. Families take their dogs on trips with them more and more, they buy clothes to dress them up, there are more elaborate toys, boarding, etc. Sure, people took care of their animals before, but not like this. Like anything else, things do go to an extreme and some people will do anything to take things too far, but the average person does not take their family pet and leave it outside 24/7/365. I consider my wife and I to be good dog owners and take good care of our Corgi. She goes to the vet regularly, eats top-notch food, takes monthly preventatives, has a ton of toys, personalized items (for the record all the personalized items are all my wife’s idea), etc. We even have pet insurance for her just in case. If someone would have mentioned something like the idea of pet insurance to me 20 years ago, I would have said no way!
So as we go through training the new talent that has come on board, I am reminded of where the industry was to where it is now. For all the new people that have joined our team, I say WELCOME! I know you will have a lot of fun.