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8 Trends to Watch in the $4B US Pet Clean-Up and Odor-Control Market

Continued growth is expected.

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ROCKVILLE, MD — U.S. retail sales of pet clean-up and odor-control products reached more than $4 billion in 2019, up from $3.5 billion in 2014, according to a new report. That represents a 3.4 percent compound annual growth rate for the period.

The figures come from market research publisher Packaged Facts in the new study Pet Litter, Clean-Up, and Odor Control: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities, 2nd Edition.

Cat litter is by far the largest category in the pet clean-up and odor-control market and accounts for 73 percent of the overall pet clean-up market. Puppy/training pads and dog waste bags and accessories together account for 17 percent of the market. Pet clean-up/odor-control preparations account for the remainder of the market.

Packaged Facts forecasts that the pet clean-up and odor-control product market will approach $5 billion by 2024. Here are eight trends Packaged Facts expects will influence growth in the market:

Clean-Up Innovations That Make Pet Ownership Easier

In the pet clean-up and odor-control market, innovations typically stem from a desire to make pet ownership easier and more appealing by simplifying some of the less pleasant aspects of pet care.

Pet As Family

One of the biggest industry-wide trends that is impacting the pet clean-up and odor-control market is the notion of pets as family members. When pet owners consider their pets family members, they keep them in close proximity, both at home and when out and about, making clean-up products more necessary.

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Health and Wellness

Part of the “pets as family” trend is an increasing focus on pet health and wellness. Pet owners are looking for clean-up and odor-control products that are not only safe for themselves and their pets but that will help maintain their pets’ overall wellness.

Pet Ownership Trends

While cat ownership has remained approximately the same over the past five years, should the cat-owning population show a return to growth similar to the recent rebound among dog-owning households, the clean-up and odor-control market would experience a significant gain in sales because cat litter makes up such a large component of the market.

Millennials and Housing Issues

Unlike Boomers in the past, Millennials often live in apartment settings. And although a current shortage of more pet-friendly housing overall is problematic for the pet market, it may actually benefit the pet clean-up and odor-control market. Apartment dwellers are more likely to seek out animals such as cats that don’t require being taken outside but need a litter box, and those that have dogs rely on clean-up products such as training pads and waste bags to enable them to keep their pets in a small space.

Natural and Eco-Friendly

A key part of the drive toward premium and superpremium product lines and pricing, natural and eco-friendly products have been an enormous factor in the pet market for many years and across many areas of the market, but they have been somewhat slow to impact the pet clean-up and odor-control. However, that is now changing as pet owners seek out natural options that won’t harm their pets or the planet. Additionally, the environmental impact of cat litter and dog waste are contributing factors driving natural clean-up products.

Legislating Pet Waste

A large number of urban and suburban communities have laws that prohibit leaving pet waste in public spaces. These laws are necessary, but as any pet owner knows, they mean that pet owners need to be prepared to clean up after their pets. And although it may be rare for the “poop police” to actually enforce these laws, common courtesy also requires that pet owners leave sidewalks and streets as clean as possible so others need not fear tracking through the mess.

Cat Elimination Habits

For litter marketers, the finicky nature of cats when it comes to the litter box is a challenge: how to convince a cat owner to try a new type of litter — whether an all-new product or a reformulation of an existing one — when the change may mean the cat will no longer use the litter box? Accordingly, much of the innovation that goes into developing new litter is geared around not just making it easier on owners in terms of odor and clean-up, but making it more likely that cats will want to use the litter in the first place.

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Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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