June 5, 2019

By: The Pet Business Professor

According to John Gibbons, president of A GPS for Pet Businesses, the US BLS just released their Mid-Year Update of the Consumer Expenditure Survey covering the period 7/1/2017 to 6/30/2018. In our analysis of Pet Supplies Spending we saw that it remained “gold”. Spending was up across virtually every demographic segment for the second consecutive year. Pet Food Spending was also strong for the year but growth had slowed significantly in the first half of 2018. Now we turn our attention to Pet Services. The Mid-year numbers show that spending in this segment was $7.87B, up $1.30B (+19.9%) from the previous year. This segment is known for consistent, albeit small increments of growth. In 2017 spending fell 4% at mid-year and was down 1% for the year. This was the first decline in any 12-month period in 4 years and the first annual decline since 2011. Then, driven by a spectacular 1st half of 2018, Services rebounded with literally the single biggest $ increase in history.

Here are the Mid-Year 2018 Specifics:

-Mid-Year 2018 vs Mid-Year 2017: ↑$1.30B (+19.9%)

-Jul > Dec 2017: ↑$0.20B

-Jan > Jun 2018: ↑$1.10B

Pet Services is by far the smallest industry segment. However, except for 2010 and 2011, the period immediately following the Great Recession, it had consistent annual growth from 2000 through 2016. Spending in Food and Supplies have been on a roller coaster ride during that period. Service Spending more than tripled from 2000 to 2016, with an average annual growth rate of 7.6%. Spending in the Services Segment is the most discretionary in the industry and is more strongly skewed towards higher income households. Prior to the great recession, the inflation rate averaged 3.9% with no negative impact. The recession affected every industry segment, including Services. Consumers became more value conscious, especially in terms of discretionary spending. Services saw a slight drop in spending in both 2010 and 2011, but then the inflation rate fell to the 2+% range and the segment returned to more “normal” spending behavior. In mid-2016 inflation dropped below 2% and continued down to 1.1% by the end of 2017. This was primarily due to increased competition from free standing businesses but also an increase in the number of Pet Stores and Veterinary Clinics offering pet services. While prices still went up slightly, there were deals to be had and consumers shopped for the best price. There was no change in purchase frequency. Consumers just paid less. There are 2 periods on the chart which best illustrate the impact of this behavior. In the 1st half of 2013, inflation fell to 0.7% and spending decreased by -$0.44B. In the first half of 2017, inflation dropped to a record low 0.4% and spending fell -$0.28B. Obviously, some inflation is necessary in Services. In the 2nd half of 2017 spending turned up again. That brings us to the huge $1.1B lift in 2018. This is unprecedented. Only increased purchase frequency and and/or deeper market penetration could have produced this spectacular increase.

See the full report here.

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