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Indies Predict the Next Big Breakouts in Pet Products and Services

The 520 retailers and service providers who took our first-ever Big Survey identified two categories that are currently breaking out and will see significant growth in 2023.




In our first-ever Big Survey, we asked independent pet retailers and service providers to answer 69 questions about how they do business and the industry itself. These owners and top managers — 520 to be exact, from across the U.S. and Canada — shared all in the anonymous survey conducted online from mid-August through October.

Here’s how they answered this question: What do you think will be the next big breakout category in pet products or services?

Gently cooked foods came in at the top, with many noting that the category had already broken out and they are happy to see it growing.

Alternative proteins such as plants and insects followed, with indies split on how they feel about them. One respondent even said in their non-answer, “Who the heck knows?! When they started pushing bugs as a protein, I thought I’d seen it all, but I’m sure something else will show up.”

Enrichment as a category came in next in products. Toys and lick mats got many mentions, as did more high-tech offerings. One respondent predicted, “I think cameras and other tech products will grow in the pet care industry. Pet parents can observe their actions and interact through cameras and apps.” And we love this answer
and really hope this product happens: “Pet translators that turn barks and meows into English.”

The enrichment category also topped answers for next big breakout service. The owner of a training facility explained that the industry will see more of “early puppy socialization and training as a concept. This applies not only to dog trainers but also to groomers doing short ‘starter puppy’ visits to get puppies off on the right foot. Pet owners are starting to realize what a profound effect the pandemic had on dogs. Those who jumped through hoops to socialize their puppies despite lockdowns are reaping the benefits, while those who stayed shut in for months call their fearful, anti-social dogs ‘COVID puppies’ and swear to do better next time.”


Among the other answers getting more than a few mentions were products made in the U.S., cat products in general, and products and in-store services meant to help with the shortage of veterinarians in this country.

See the answers to all 69 questions in our November-December issue, mailing out Nov. 15. A big thank you to the American Pet Products Association for sponsoring our inaugural survey!



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