Not only are millennials now the largest consumer group in the world, they’re bucking the norm and reaching life milestones like marriage, home ownership and children much later in life. Instead, for many millennials, the first step in adulthood is pet ownership. In fact, 44% of millennials view their pets as practice for caring for future children, fueling sales projections for the North American pet care market to hit $281 billion by 2023.
As consumers spend more on pet care in unprecedented amounts, they’re demanding higher quality products. Packaging plays a vital role in helping brands meet those higher standards and delivering on the high-end experience consumers expect for their pets.
Through our research and market insights, we’ve found the following packaging attributes to be of importance to consumers when shopping for pet care products:
First Moment of Truth Appeal
People shop for their pets the same as they shop for themselves, which usually begins with their eyes. When passing aisles of pet shampoos, cleaning solutions and food, shelf differentiation is important in setting a brand’s product apart from its competitors, much as it is with consumer personal care products. This is explains why premiumization is a rising trend in product marketing with 35% of U.S. pet owners seeking more premium product options for their pets (Stylus Reports, 2017 APPA Data). Premiumization via packaging, including labelling, packaging shape and color, is a proven strategy for stopping consumers in their tracks.
Reliability and Performance
However, it’s not just important that the product look good, it also has to add real value to the user experience. In fact, features like ergonomic design may be more imperative in pet care than human care. Imagine slippery Fido fighting bath time: you’re maneuvering him with one hand, while trying to un-cap a shampoo bottle and dispense the product with the other. This is where tactile grips, finger grooves and closures with easy open thumb lifts can make all the difference in a consumer’s experience with your product. Other features such as dispensing pumps that lock in the up or down position, fine mist sprayers that spray high-viscosity formulations without compromising output or trigger sprayers with child-resistance features to keep the family safe all go a long way to elevating the consumer’s perception of your brand.
More Sustainable Options
Sustainability and sustainable packaging continues to be a large driver of purchase decision for consumers, especially millennials. Recent data shows that millennials are the most likely of all age groups to pay more for sustainable packaging, up to 30% more. But like all other design elements, sustainability cannot be the only draw. A combination of recyclability and robust design, meaning shelf appeal and optimal performance, must all be present to drive repeat purchase.
After looking at all the available data and research currently in the market paired with our own insights, one takeaway is clear: when it comes to pet care, consumers share many of the same expectations for pet care products as they have for their own personal care products. Shelf appeal, performance and sustainability remain at the top of the list when it comes to making purchasing decisions for both people and their pets.