You bet small pets matter! In fact, small pets are a billion dollar industry. In fact, more households now boast small animals, fish and reptiles than ever before. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), for 2013-2014, pet parents spend the most money on pet food, with the exception of freshwater fish. Did you “catch” that? Freshwater fish sales are through the roof.
Small animals, your day has come. For all intents and purposes, small animals include ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, fish, snakes, insects, rabbits, gerbils, hermit crabs, and so much more. The definition of a “pet” has been redefined. As someone who bonded with a betta fish, I can attest that the human-animal bond is a uniquely personal and uniquely individual thing.
Writer, Alissa Wolf, shares a wonderful interview with Mr. Bob Vetere, President of APPA, on her About.com blog. She asked Bob why fish and small exotic pets are more popular than ever.
“One reason is pure speculation on my part. Over the last six, eight or 10 years, the association put a lot of money into the Pet Care Trust for the Pets in the Classroom program (which enables teachers to bring pets into schools, to expose youngsters to the joys of pet ownership),” Bob told Alyssa in her article. “We have teachers incorporating pets in the classroom. Small pets and fish are the easiest to keep in that setting. That program is having a positive impact.” Otherwise, the offspring of baby boomers are seeking easy to maintain pets, due to their hectic lifestyles. “A lot of kids who moved out of the baby boomer home are looking for a pet,” Bob said. “They work and travel, but they still want a pet at home. Pets like fish, gerbils, snakes and reptiles allow these pet owners to be mobile, without having to worry about their pets’ health and well-being.”
Do Small Pet Parents Blog and Microblog?
Absolutely! If you take a peek at our Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media awards finalists, there is even a category devoted to “Other Pets,” of which the finalists are diverse, including:
Microblogging, incidentally, is a form of blogging that includes social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc.
What Should Marketers Know?
APPA forecasts that nearly $56 billion will be spent in the United States in the pet care sector in 2014. A huge part of that is in the small pet domain, and BlogPaws’ co-founder, Yvonne DiVita is well aware of this dynamic.
In an interview with emarketer.com, DiVita shared, “Pets are very important members of the family. There are many marketers and brands jumping on the pet/family bandwagon. But, they’re not showing as much support as they could—beyond simply talking about it. We can teach them how to include the pet as a family member.”
The definition of “pets” has evolved and changed. The norm is no longer simply dogs and cats. Peruse the cyber aisles of online pet supply sites and they are resplendent with ferret toys, parrot needs, aquariums, bird cages, and more. We aren’t just shopping for basic and essentials for small pets: We are competing in photo contests, dressing them in clothes, blogging and writing about them, and we want our due day. We are pet parents, no matter the pet. Nod in agreement if you get what I am saying here. After all, the stronger your voice in the e-parenting world that is shared on blogs and microblogs, the more brands will hear you.
By the Numbers
According to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 82.5 millions homes.
Breakdown of pet ownership in the U.S. according to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey
Number of U.S. Households that Own a Pet (millions)
Freshwater Fish 14.3
Saltwater Fish 1.8
Small Animal 6.9
Ten to twenty years ago, we’d have no idea how many households were estimated to have small animals, but our reach has grown.
In slightly over a month, the the BlogPaws 2014 Conference will take place, where all creatures great and small are welcomed. These “creatures aka family members include small animals. If you’ve been to any of the conferences we’ve hosted before, you’ve seen the bunnies on the red carpet, the ferrets in tuxedos, along with birds, guinea pigs, and more.
BlogPaws conferences bring together hundreds of pet bloggers, pet enthusiasts, shelters, rescues, and the brands who serve them, for social media education, networking, and promoting worldwide change for pets in need. On Friday evening, May 9th, we will come together for a huge event dubbed “Meet the Rescues.” Ask any shelter or rescue worker how many small animals are surrendered and you’d be amazed and saddened. Homeless pets come in all shapes and sizes, and BlogPaws embraces all of you.
So Small Pet Parents, this is YOUR month. BlogPaws celebrates and honors small pets today, tomorrow, this month, and always. We’re even celebrating with a very special contest starting on April 2nd in the BlogPaws Community.
Come out and see us in Vegas in May and bring that mighty big presence in your life dubbed a “small pet.” Your day has arrived.
Anyone out there have a small pet?