Case Study “Pet Owners and Their Pets or ... Consumers and Their Owners?”

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Case Study “Pet owners and their pets or ... consumers and their owners?”

Written by Tjark Hartmann, Student ID: 20528 19.10.2010

Words: 1649

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Content
Introduction......................................................................................................................................... 3 Insight .................................................................................................................................................. 3 Reasons for owners spending with reference to consumer behaviour theory................................... 3 Reasons of pet ownership ................................................................................................................... 4 Conclusion and impact on Retailers marketing strategy..................................................................... 5 References ........................................................................................................................................... 7

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Introduction
“Pet owners and their pets or ... consumers and their owners?” – this is a good question. The answer depends on the relationship between owner and pet as well as on the motives of the owners who decided to get a pet. The following report deals with the relationship between owners and pets, with the motives of pet owners to have a pet and as well with the reasons why owners are willing to spend sums of money on their pets. Furthermore it will deal with some explanations for the high level of pet ownership in Australia and based on this with possible marketing strategies of pet shop retailers to get an advantage by using this information.

Insight
Pets are very popular all over the world. Of course there are differences between countries related to the type of pet as well as to the popularity rating. According to the Australian Companion Animal Council (2010) there is a cat or a dog in more than 63 % of the Australian households. Comparing this percentage to other countries of the world you can say that the percentage in the U.S. is very similar to Australia while the percentage of a European country (in this case the United Kingdom with 43 % of all households owning a pet) is distinctly lower (ACAC, 2010). Coming back to Australia, nearly two thirds of households owning a pet is definitely a very high percentage. But the pet market in Australia has got further potential – the ACAC (2010) stated that 53 % of the Australian households which do not have a pet yet would like to have one in the future. This might be a very interesting fact for the Australian pet industry. According to the ACAC (2010) the Australian pet owners spent AUD 6,021 million on their pets in 2009. The largest part of these expenses with 36.9 % are veterinary services, 30.3 % are expenses on pet food, 17.3 % are petcare services, 10.2 % pet purchases and 5.3 % petcare products. A very interesting fact is that estimated more than one third of all employees work in the pet care product sector (ACAC, 2010) while this is the sector with the smallest turnover. Although the petcare product sector had an increase in turnover of approximately 8.4 % from 2008 to 2009 (ACAC, 2010) there is still more growth potential in this sector.

Reasons for owners spending with reference to consumer behaviour theory Reasons for this spending depend on the type of relationship between owner and pet as well as on the motives the owner had to get the pet. According to Hirschmann (1994) there are two broad categories of animals. The first category is animals as objects/products. This includes different

4 motives respectively different roles pets can “play”, such as animals as ornaments, status symbols, avocation, equipment or as people. These are prevailing selfish reasons and motives why owners have a pet and therefore the reasons why they spend all the money on their pets is to “feel more comfortable”. This allows the reference to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs...
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