Ted Karczewski

The United States might have been in a recession between 2008 and 2012, but the woes felt by many small businesses were absent in the pet market. According to Mintel, a market research firm, the pet industry is worth more than $49 billion in 2012 – up 15 percent from 2007. More, online search activity suggests Americans increasingly turn to Google to find ways to pamper their pets.

Mintel Senior Market Analyst Bill Patterson says that pets have similar needs as human family members, and owners don’t hesitate to provide their furry friends with the nurturing that, for many, has become standard. This trend caused pet supplies and services to skyrocket over the past few years, with pet food accounting for the largest share of sales in 2011 (37.8 percent). Veterinary services represented the second-largest share with more than $12 billion in annual sales.

The report also found that 43 percent of the survey’s respondents own dogs and 32 percent care for cats, and nearly seven out of 10 pet owners feel their dogs understand their feelings better than most people. Forty-three percent of cat owners say they pamper their pets, compared to 48 percent of dog owners.

The Mintel report shows that pet owners are willing to spend a little extra each year to care for their loved ones, and many of the services marketed toward humans translate well into pet-related industries. Since the pet market has expanded so rapidly over the past five years, marketers should look to the web for greater brand visibility. Indeed, search activity around pet products and services is rising.

Google Trends PetsSpecific key terms that pet owners might enter into search engines like Google show slight to modest increases between 2004 and 2012. For example, Google Trends reports the term „pet grooming“ has seen steady growth in search traffic over the time period, despite domestic economy troubles. This trend, along with the uptick in pet-owner spending on grooming supplies and food, indicates there are significant opportunities for marketers to reach prospective customers with high-quality SEO content.

As Brafton previously reported, online lead generation will continue to accelerate moving forward, while offline tactics decline. Pet-related businesses that focus more of their attention on developing content marketing strategies will find it easier to reach prospective buyers – those people who open up their wallets for their best friends.