As pets are increasingly part of the family, demographic developments and consumer lifestyles have a strong link to pet ownership.
If we look at age distribution across the world, the differences across continents and countries are significant. The graph shows age distribution in Africa, South America, Oceania, Asia, Europe, and North America. Japan has also been added as an example of an extremely ageing society. Starting with Africa, where young children make up the largest part of the population, we can see this shifting towards a greying society, with Japan as an example of a population where the majority is older than 45 years of age.
Pet ownership numbers are influenced by many factors, but age cannot be automatically linked to the number of pets. Neither is gender a qualifying factor.
The historical/cultural background of a country or region is much more likely to affect pet ownership figures today, as is the disposable income of its inhabitants.
Regions that experience rapid population growth and/or fast economic development are much more likely to see a rise in pet ownership figures, as well as an obvious rise in market value.
The happiness factor
Another interesting factor to look at is the correlation between happiness and pet ownership. According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, the most important factors influencing happiness are caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income, and good governance. The top four countries that rank high on all these factors are Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland. Some interesting conclusions from the report are:
- 80% of the variance of happiness across the world occurs within countries;
- People in China are no happier than 25 years ago;
- Happiness has fallen in America.
If you look at the number of pets per inhabitant in relation to the country’s ‘happiness factor’, remarkably, the number of pets increases along with the country’s happiness. Which phenomenon might have contributed to causing the other is unclear at this point.
Wants and needs
Especially in more developed markets, different life styles and life stages come with different wants and needs, activity levels, amounts of spare time, spending patterns, and interests. These call for a dedicated – maybe even localized – range of products and services for pet owners.
Senior pet owners generally have lots of time to spend with their pets, and they have been found to be significantly more active than their peers without pets. Products and services promoting (outdoor) activities and social interaction might be successful among this age group. As older people often have a higher disposable income, this offers opportunities for the premium or luxury segments. Furthermore, a range of products and services can be offered for extra convenience, such as home delivery, dog-walking services, at-home grooming or pet healthcare, insurance policies, etc.
On the other end of the spectrum, millennials – adults aged 18 to 34 – are a completely new type of consumer. According to a recent report by Packaged Facts , these consumers “not only have pets of their own, but
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