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GenZ and millennials are stiffening competition among pet-care brands

With increased consciousness among pet parents, more and more brands entering the space are aiming to gain maximum market share with on-ground activities and a strong social media strategy. It’s not long before one would see pet-care brands spending huge sums of money on extravagant mainline campaigns

As a result of the increased consciousness amongst the pet-parents in India across Tier-I, II and III cities, pet-care players are finding it equally important to boost the brand recall and expand the market share through on-ground activities, apart from just digital or traditional marketing initiatives, as per experts.

Experts also pointed out that in many ways, taking care of a pet is a full-time activity and, therefore, all brands operating in this segment should think of marketing activities which can cover all aspects of a pet’s life. 

The pet food market is currently valued at around Rs 4,000 crore and is expected to touch Rs 10,000 crore by 2025, owing to the significant uptick in pet adoption in the aftermath of the pandemic, according to reports.

 

According to data available on Statista, in 2017, Mars Petcare was the leading pet-care company whose subsidiaries- Pedigree and Royal Canin enjoyed a market share of 32.8% and 15.3%, respectively, followed by Drools at 12.1%, Stylam Chopstix at 2.2% and so on and so forth. Himalaya Wellness Company had also forayed into the pet-nutrition category in the same year and launched herbal and nutritional snacks for pets.

Pedigree Ad-

Himalaya Companion care ad-

Furthermore, major FMCG players like Nestle and Emami foraying into the pet-care segment. While Nestle India acquired Purina Petcare for Rs. 123.5 crores in the month of July, it was Emami who invested in Cannis Lupus Services India to offer ayurvedic remedies to the pooch-friends under the brand name- ‘Fur Ball Story’ to compete with Himalaya.

Nestle Purina ad-

Devanshi Shah

According to Devanshi Shah, Founder and CEO, PetKonnect, “Parenting a pet is in many ways similar to parenting a human child, and so it is a non-stop activity, which is why we have a full set of digital, PR and on-ground activities planned year-round.”

“You have to feed them, teach them, play with them and of course assure medical attention as and when required and that’s where our USP of being the most comprehensive online platform for pet parents comes in,” she added.

Shah also went on to point out that their key focus is on improving social inclusion for all animals in India. “From learning, licensing, vets, groomers, pet products and pet medicines, we have it all, under one roof,” she stated.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by PetKonnect (@petkonnect)

Ambarish Sikarwar

Striking a similar note, Ambarish Sikarwar, Business Head, Zigly, stated, “Since pet care is a niche market and many pet parents face the difficulty of not being able to find the right solutions to pet parenting woes, we are constantly working towards empowering them to make the right decisions when it comes to pet care.”

“For us, it's ‘Pets First’, hence our marketing and advertising strategies are in sync with what we deliver to our customers and that’s ‘experience’. We want our customers to enjoy all moments of joy with their fur buddies and we take care of the necessities. To help our customers experience those moments, we organise various events and shows at our experience centres such as Comipaws, Halloween, Christmas Carnival, fashion shows, Pupper Party, etc. Further, we have a monthly property ‘Zigly My Pet Days’ - during which we release top offers on premium products and services for the pet parents and their furries,” he added.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Zigly (@ziglyforpets)

Anushka Iyer

Adding on to it, Anushka Iyer, Founder and CEO, Wiggles, stated, “The number of new pet parents has been increasing YoY and there are several challenges that they face in their parenting journey. Based on this, our marketing and advertising plans are focused on helping communities of pet parents, feeders and animal lovers through awareness campaigns and providing the right solutions in pet care.”

“We have been actively organising engaging fun on-ground activities, contests, and campaigns throughout the year and plan to do more such activities in various cities across the country to educate pet parents and increase awareness about responsible pet parenting,” she added.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Wiggles (@wiggles.in)

Varun Sadana

Similarly, Varun Sadana, Co-founder, Supertails, also said, “Petcare industry is a niche category but it’s expanding every day. With people realising the value addition of a pet in their lives, they are willing to go an extra mile to provide them with the best care and comfort. At the same time, they have also become conscious about what they choose to feed, use on their skin, hair etc.”

“The aim is to educate and provide them with the right pet parenting information and care because we strongly believe that every pet has the right to live their best life,” he added.

Supertails ad-

Adamya Dua

According to Adamya Dua, Senior Brand Manager, Heads Up For Tails, “The pet-care category which was built on the back of food, and then expanded to lifestyle products, is steadily moving from niche to scalable large sectors. We see consumers entering different parts of the consideration funnel through the year, and our core focus is on having things that help nurture lifestyle aspirations.”

“Our brand equity and approach is very unique, and our community is deeply engaged with us. We don’t solve to stand out, we solve to be relevant, top-of-mind and capture our customer’s hearts,” he added.

Furthermore, Dua also went on to add that HUFT has recently onboarded Kriti Sanon as its brand ambassador, to help the category expand and build credibility in newer audiences and markets. 

“We will soon be rolling out a city-focussed OOH and digital awareness campaign which will be supported with on-ground events and roadshows in addition to the in-store experiences. We also run the HUFT Foundation, and keep supporting the welfare of street animals through our initiatives,” he said.

HUFT ad-

According to a report by Market Decipher, India is one of the fastest-growing pet care markets in the world and is expected to grow to a value of Rs 2,10,000 crore by 2032, at a CAGR of 19.2%, on account of rising number of nuclear families, double-income households, changes in lifestyle, urbanisation, and increasing pet ownership.

Sadana also pointed out that being a D2C, e-commerce brand, Supertails aims to reach out to their consumer base organically through an array of marketing and advertising campaigns to acquire new pet parents. “As of today, most of them come from Tier-I cities but we are trying to reach out to pet parents from Tier-II and Tier-III cities, as well,” he stated.

Adding to this, Shah also stated that PetKonnect already has a strong presence in Tier-II and Tier-III cities through its website, and plans to launch its physical retail stores in 2023 to have an on-ground touch point with their customers.

Dua also asserted that HUFT usually targets customer clusters with high density of pet parents, especially in Tier-II cities, and that the core target audience for the pet-care brand is anyone who is an animal lover. 

“We believe that we have about 15-20% of the blended market, and about 20-25% of the speciality pet product market,” he said. 

Similarly, Sikarwar also pointed out that Zigly is already catering to the pet parents’ needs in Tier-II and Tier-III cities through its website and mobile application through which pet parents can place their orders or even book online vet consultations as per their requirements.

Emphasising the country-wide presence through a robust retail network, Wiggles’ Iyer also added that the pet-care company conducts a lot of on-ground activities across locations that aim at educating people who care about animals and boosting awareness about products.

Furthermore, when asked about the changing trends in the pet-care segment and the rising consciousness among pet parents, Sikarwar said, “One of the major reasons for this is lifestyle changes and the overall advancement in the country. Also, millennials are more bent on leading a holistic lifestyle and raising pets as their own kids is an important aspect of it. The entire ecosystem is moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle that is pet friendly.”

Wiggles’ Iyer also went on to point out that the percentage of pet parents using pet-care products was extremely low until the past few years, but with increasing awareness, the share has been increasing rapidly. “There has been a rise in pet adoption in the last few years. With that, the needs of pets have come to the forefront, and pet parents want to fulfil these needs,” she said.

Shah also highlighted that it was after losing her pet Hazel that she decided to start PetKonnect. “It was at that time that I realised the many gaps prevailing in the pet care sector in India. In fact, ensuring the health and safety of animals is one of the formative reasons behind the inception of PetKonnect,” she asserted.

Commenting on who all constitute the primary target audience, Wiggles’ Iyer said, “Our primary target audience is GenZs and millennials, as they make up a majority of pet parents today and since they are new to pet adoption and pet care, they want the best holistic care for their pets which essentially aligns with our ideology.”

In addition to this, when asked about what the effective marketing and advertising channels for pet-care brands in the country are, Sikarwar asserted, “Since the pet care category is emerging, on-ground activations help us connect with the pet parents at a ground level. As part of our 360-degree marketing approach, we follow a complete marketing mix and on-ground activations are an important part of it.”

Furthermore, to reach out to pet parents across the country through several marketing channels, PetKonnect’s Shah also said, “We use our digital platforms for social content and advertising. We make PR efforts towards being the voice of the industry and championing conversation around important animal-related topics. We have a strong influencer and on-ground events engagement calendar for the year to keep our audiences engaged.”

“A major portion, approximately 55%, of our annual budget is allocated towards marketing as we need to keep our customers engaged, stay relevant and ensure we are championing dialogue for animal welfare in India,” she added

HUFT’s Dua also pointed out that the modern consumer is highly discerning and believes in investing in high-quality products that are good for pets. “We believe in a really sharp campaign roll-out without spray and pray as we can’t run large-scale TV campaigns and expect the category and market to expand. So, the focus is on publishers and content platforms that are closely linked to the pet interest category. It has to be done through behaviour and mindset change as our consumers are.”

Giving out statistics, Dua also added that he believes that HUFT’s market share has covered approximately 15-20% of the blended market and about 20-25% of the speciality pet product market, as of now.  

When asked about the limitations faced by pet-care brands in the country, Shah stated, “There are many rules and regulations that we need to adhere to while doing physical events with a large number of pets, that speak to the safety of the general population when organising such gatherings. There is also a large limitation on the number of venues available to us that are pet-friendly.”

Adding to this, Iyer also highlighted that one of the major challenges for the pet-care industry is the lack of mass channel distribution. “We have to be selective about the channels we use to reach our target audience and while doing so we focus on building as well as tapping into micro-communities of animal lovers, pet parents, feeders, and social media creators and take their help to educate our audience,” she asserted.

On a concluding note, Shah said, “I think the acceptance towards pets in India is on a positive trajectory and these limitations are gradually improving.” 

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