Top 5 Pet Industry Trends to Watch in 2018

FLM Harvest

For pet health marketers, the first part of any year is like a marathon. Not only are they kicking off campaigns and conducting national sales meetings, but they’re also managing the year’s two biggest medical meetings and trade shows: NAVC’s newly named Veterinary Medical Expo and Western Vet Conference. These shows set the tone for the year to come, which is why they’re on the must list for any pet health marketer.

Now that the calendar has flipped to April and these shows are in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to reflect on what we learned. And, boy, did we learn a lot. Here are my top five topics along with one bonus to watch as the rest of 2018 plays out:

01. The pet parasiticide market is on fire.
New products, new indications and significantly bolstered marketing from the biggest players: This therapeutic category is en fuego. A few short years ago, it seemed like the paras market was as crowded as it could get. Today, it feels like it’s just getting started.

02. Pet retail is aggressively connecting the dots.
While PetSmart has been a highly visible player in pet health for a few years, Petco has dramatically jumped into the fray with significant presences at both VMX and WVC. In another area, the inaugural Vet + Pet West in December promises to connect DVMs, pet retailers and owners in an all-new way. Plus, the NAVC/UBM Animal Care partnership on this event is intriguing.

03. Vet techs are at long last getting their due.
While hardly a new development, the industry’s understanding, appreciation and investment in veterinary technicians continues to grow. These dedicated and hard-working individuals wield a tremendous amount of influence in the clinic. The emergence of the veterinary nursesterminology will only further this important evolution.

04. The human-animal bond is real.
Any pet-owning human knows that. Now a new certification program proves it.

05. Don’t pigeonhole the millennials.
You know millennials; those digital savants who don’t do anything not found in or fueled by an app? Not so fast. New researchfrom Packaged Facts shows millennials and their Gen Z brethren are “far more likely to depend on their veterinarians” for pet health care guidance than boomers or Gen Xers. This is important and welcome news for DVMs fighting online retailers, big-box stores and Dr. Googleto secure client loyalty.

And that promised bonus:

Here comes Walmart!
Through a partnership with PetIQ, the world’s largest retailer will open 20 in-store veterinary clinicsby the end of May with a goal of 1,000 such clinics by the end of 2023. Enough said.

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