Is luxury pet care the future of the u.k. pet industry?
Here in the U.K., we’ve always been a nation of pet lovers. We treasure our kitty cats and our pups. It’s in our nature. But aside from informal evidence, market trends show that rather than tighten our belts for the recession, we’re actually spending more on our pets than ever before.
Over the course of 2017 so far, and the past few years too, the market for premium, high value products and services for our pets has boomed. So is luxury pet care the future of the U.K. Pet Industry?  Read on to learn more, and find a few examples if maybe you too want to dote on your little treasures.
we truly are a nation of pet lovers
Over the past few years, the pet industry has been booming. In 2015, we spent a grand total of £7.16 billion- BILLION- on our pets’ luxury needs.  That’s an enormous 25% increase on 2010. All told, dog owners alone contribute £10.64 billion to the British economy every year, according to research by American Express. 
The funny thing is that while the amount we spend on our pets has been going up, this hasn’t come from a dramatic increase in our standard of living- far from it. Instead, we’re actually reducing our own budgets to spend more on our pets.  So rather than spend more on luxury food for ourselves- maybe some Taste the Difference salmon or spaghetti Bolognese- we’re actually buying Taste the Difference tuna meaty chunks.
what exactly is driving the growth?
We aren’t just buying more for our pets. We’re spending more on what we do buy. The market for more healthy, natural, and expensive food for our pets has been exploding. This is largely as a result of a wider variety of products on the market: there’s now a perfect food for every pet, be they young, old, allergic to this or that, or even castrated or not. 
But it’s not just treats we’re paying more for. We’re also shopping locally now. 62% of Britain’s dog owners use small independent businesses, with almost half of those doing so, because of the better quality of service they receive.  So the real driver of this growing market is that we only want the best for our pets.
Gina Westbrook of Euromonitor has written that it’s the ‘humanisation’ of pets that’s behind this trend- rather than treating our pets like accessories, we’re increasingly treating pets as members of the family. Whatever the exact reason, though, the market has been growing far faster than the rest of the economy.
What are we doing differently?
Dog and cat food has always had a reputation for being packed full of the meat left over at the end of a production run. As a result people are starting to take note and put more thought into what they feed their pets, and how they care for them. That’s why we’re spending more on both quality food, and food of greater variety for our pets.
We’re also spending more on training, vets and grooming.  Previously, many families may have made a financially realistic decision not to take a pet to the vet for extensive treatment and instead allow them to pass on. But today, because of our familial attachment to our pets, we’re taking better care of our pets no matter what the financial cost. This really is no bad thing, either for our pets or for the economy!
Birthday Parties, doga and pawlates
That being said, it’s the crazy end of the spectrum that’s grabbing the most attention. For one thing, we’re starting to have birthday parties for our pets, complete with gourmet treats.  But that’s only the beginning, because the niche high quality market of pet products just keeps on growing.
On precisely that topic, Gina Westbrook wrote: “Pet owners are increasingly treating their cats, dogs and even small mammals like members of their family. The opportunity to commercialise this trend into a vast range of goods and services – from dog beer to cat counselling, from pet weddings to “social petworking” – is staggering for the company that can position itself to gain credibility among this growing demographic.”
Owners who are loathe to be apart from their pet even for a morning are taking them for doga and pawlates lessons, where you can exercise with your pet and some like-minded owners. And for the very height of luxury, you can buy designer outfits, collars and leads, and crystal encrusted drinking bowls. 
SO WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE?
All signs point to this market segment continuing to expand for the near future. The rise of internet retailing has only helped to boost the luxury pet products market, with retailers like Zooplus, Pet-Supermarket and PetShop coming to dominate the scene. 
But these retailers are only half the story. Small businesses both online and off are taking advantage of this new growth, as boutique pet groomers and retailers run by entrepreneurs and sole traders are opening up shop. You can find all sorts of unique products out there, some marketed and some even made solely by these mini-traders. There are some great offers out there… If only you know where to look.
That’s where we come in! With all this new choice in products and services coming to market, we really think there’s a need for a directory that can help you get exactly what you want, both in terms of quality and price.
Here on Ember And Elliot, you can find dog friendly dining, dog friendly hotels, luxury pet boarding and grooming as well as an ever-expanding list of top luxury brands and products. We’re always on the lookout, updating this list whenever we find something we think you might like to buy. So keep checking back- there’s something for everyone!