In the rising obsession with innovative ideas that combine industries with technological advances that make like easier it is no surprise that the pet industry has been tapped itself. Now I am not going to bore you with the silly statistics that state that an extremely high percentage of the population considers their pet to be part of the family, because in my opinion that percentage should be 100. I will say that according to the American Pet Products Association (yes this is a real thing) an estimated $72.13 billion was spent on pet products. This spend has been trending upward since 1994, making it a growing market that continue to gains traction. This spend is reflective of just the amount we are spending on our furry friends, but are some of the products and services really just for them?
First off, I have to start this off by saying that I am team dog and have been for years, I just don’t understand team cat. Growing up with a family dog I truly understand the saying “man’s best friend.” Social media has help to feed users’ dog’s obsession for those who don’t have a canine themselves. Take one scroll through Instagram and you are bound to see at least one account tied to the life of a dog. The obsession with these fun-loving animals partnered with technology has created some unique platforms, some merely adapted from other apps we all use. Take for example dog care apps such as Rover and Wag these pet platforms take some of the features and services of our apps like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb into the lives our barking pals. Both tech startups provide pet parents with on-demand dog walking, and boarding for yours pets. These companies are redefining the way kennels or pet hotels operate, as well as bringing dog walking and pet care into the gig economy. Both companies have experienced prosperous gains, healthy venture capital funding, and have battled each other in the marketplace. Does this at all sound familiar? Take a look at Uber and Lyft. The tale of two alike platforms continues as well, Wag and Rover are quickly learning that when it comes to dealing with people’s animals the bar can be set pretty high. The video below outlines the scrutiny Wag came under after allegedly tried to silence one owner of speaking to media regarding her lost dog Buddy. This quick report outlines how these PetTech companies have become an Uber like startup in pet care.
While researching pet tech and more about Wag I attempted to go straight to company’s website Wag.com. I was quickly brought to Amazon’s website where ads for pet supplies and pet food flashed on the screen. A banner ran across the page that read “Introducing Wag, by Amazon.” As a business student I am immediately impressed by Amazon’s quick and subtle use of domains. I cannot be the first consumer who was attempting find the dog walking app, but quickly found myself clicking around Amazon. This leads down a whole other path that goes beyond pet tech, but most certainly worth a call out.
Wag and Rover are the immediate platforms that come up when dealing with pet care, but there are pet based platforms one can find in the app store near you. In the 2017 Census report the government found that most of today’s young adults are delaying marriage and children. How does this tie into the adoption of pets? The adoption of pets by millennials has far exceeded that of baby boomers, yes you can summarize that this generation sees their animal as a starter child. There is no need to worry though platform technology is here one again to help change these stats. DigDates is a platform created to translate dog lover’s obsessions into love for one and another, providing connections and dates. So for you dog lovers who have used up all your swipes on Tindr or are just don’t want to readjust that range on Bumble again, this may be the app for you.
If you are millennial who considers your pet like a child it is no surprise that you would be will to spend money on a home monitoring systems that would allow you to interact and check on friend at home. Unfortunately we have yet to create a smartphone that would allow our pets to connect with us while we’re away from home, but for now products such as Furbo will do. This home security camera stands as tall as Amazon’s Alexa and allows pet parents to check in on pet via a webcam accessible on computer or smart devices. Furbo allows users to actually speak to the animal as well as dispense treats upon command. These cams retail for around $200, which to some may seem like a lot, but for those who consider your pet your child it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. Furbo is not the only pet cam on the market, but it has gained significant popularity due to celebrity endorsements and has created an established brand in the market.
There are many more products that have come to the market that make pet care easier, either through technology or platform creation. These are just a few products and services that have made their way to the market in recent years. What you will notice from all the above most of these services and products make the owners life easier with some added values for the pets. Is there a growing need for these products and services and will the rise continue? What are your thoughts on PetTech?