Small mammals cannot escape the humanisation trend and are getting increasingly popular amongst millennials.
Part of the family
Young urban couples and singles living in small spaces: all the reason for millennials to set their sight on small mammals. The fact this generation marries later – or not at all – and shows less interest in having children are also factors why these previously gateway pets for kids have become pampered ‘fur kids’. A status largely encouraged by the industry that initiated the humanisation trend, leading millennials’ love of their pets to a whole new level.
To millennials, rabbits, hamsters or gerbils are not ‘just pets’: they are part of the family and nothing is too good for them! They are treated the same way as dogs or cats. Their pet parents want the best for them, such as premium organic food, design cages, comfortable nests or eco-friendly dust free bedding.
Moreover, millennials are much more open to new products than former generations. They tend to choose products that can make their lives easier and they have more money to spend.
And let us not forget about the impact of thousands of likes that a photo of their cute guinea pig or rat can get on social media! Not only do millennials want the best for their fur babies, they also crave self-gratification by proving it to everybody else. All these posts on social media and thousands of likes and shares, considerably increase brand awareness.
The pet product industry has finally understood it is time to consider things differently, and tailor its marketing to these demographics, the new status of small mammals, and their online exposure.
Take, for example, the rabbit: according to the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, there are 800,000 pet bunnies around the world that serve as fur kids in 2% of homes, making the rabbit the third most common pet behind dogs and cats.
When they were kids, baby boomers kept their bunnies in crowded outdoor hutches or 60 cm cages, where they spent their whole – and somehow short – life. Bunnies ate unsophisticated pellets, and nobody really cared about what these were made of.
Nowadays, urban rabbits are free-ranging in their human parents’ condo. They are potty-trained and use a litter box filled with eco-friendly and dust free bedding. They eat premium grain free organic pellets, plenty of fresh greens right from the local market, and can choose from a very wide range of premium hay.
Their ‘rabbitat’ is enriched with special scratch pads, like the Hugro soft hemp mats. When they feel bored, they can play with toys specially made for their species, like the Teach ‘N Treat from Living World, lifting and pushing flaps in order to get rewards. And when it is time to sleep, they can relax in cosy fabric nests like the Trixie Cuddle Bed.
More than pampered
Smaller mammals are more than just pampered. Forget about ugly cages: small rodents’ habitats now have a slick look.
Terrariums lost their unflattering metallic trim to get a nice wooden frame, like the Skyline Marrakesh or the Living World Green Eco Habitat terrariums. Even cages are more beautiful and matching human habitats trends, for example the new line of Nevo and Neo cages by Zolux, which replaced the usual metallic bars by transparent panels.
Each single species, from the dwarf Russian hamster to the Chilean degu, gets its tailored premium food. With even dry shampoos on the market for the tiniest of rodents, it is safe to say that times have changed.
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