Just How Important Are Pet Stores In The UK Post Pandemic?

In the UK alone, there were over 3,000 pet stores and counting in the year 2021. With so many people considering their pets direct members of their family, it makes sense that shops catering to the needs of furry companions are constantly on the rise. In fact, Europe is home to 60,000 pet shops that specialise in offering unique services and products. The UK pet food market contributes £3.2 billion every year to the economy, and even taking into account the impact of COVID-19, the industry is still going strong.

How Did COVID-19 Impact Pet Stores?

The pet food industry was greatly impacted by the pandemic along with many other industries in the process. Due to these impacts, the needs and purchasing habits of pet owners slowly began to change. As people were restricted from going to shop physically, they turned to the e-commerce market to meet their needs. Over the years, irrespective of the pandemic, online pet food and accessory sales have been steadily rising. However, this growth was significantly accelerated as a result of the pandemic.

Many businesses had to close their doors, but pet stores proved quite resilient even during the toughest of economic times. As many pet shops were localised and focused on serving the needs of local residents, they were able to stay afloat due to COVID-19 restrictions on travelling. Pet stores also received a financial boost when people partook in the panic buying trend, and though things have largely changed since the early days of the pandemic, the need for pet stores such as Muttshas not. In fact, many pet owners discovered that the presence of physical shops provided many useful advantages over online-only options.

Over the years, the pet industry has shown a growth of over 32.4%, with an emphasis on local shopping for at least 42% of consumers. In short, the pandemic negatively impacted many industries, but it seems that pet stores weren’t one of them.

A Rise In Health And Wellness Trends

Due to the pandemic, many pet owners also started to reconsider some of their purchasing behaviours. For example, a rising emphasis on the well-being and health of their pets became a new social norm. Just like people started to focus on eating healthier, exercising more, and bettering their mental health, they also started to really weigh the needs of their pets as well. 

These conscious changes to the way society has shifted means that it has also extended into the pet food industry. Over 23% of cat and dog owners started to focus on the mental health of their companions. Another study also concluded that over 20% decided to solely focus on their pets’ immune system.

Since the rise of pet owners caring about the overall health and well-being of their furry friends, the pet store industry has greatly benefited from these changes. As the needs of pet owners began to change and evolve, pet shops have done their best to meet the rising demand for healthier and better quality products.

Why Are Pet Stores Still Popular?

In a world that’s nearly entirely driven by technology, it often comes as a surprise how much we still rely on traditional brick-and-mortar pet shops. Though shopping online yields many undisputed benefits, it’s also important to consider that there are many reasons pet stores are still going strong. Here are just some of the most commonly cited reasons why:

*Specialist Knowledge

Pet store employees are often able to offer specialised knowledge and advice when it comes to making wise choices for pet owners. If pet owners have any questions, usually, staff and salespeople have the ability to recommend the correct products. Many stores also train their employees to raise awareness of how to handle consumer interactions and which products they should recommend.

*Bespoke Recommendations

Pet store employees not only have a great deal of knowledge and expertise pertaining to the products they stock and carry, but they also have the ability to make accurate recommendations. When pet owners have health concerns or they need to meet the needs of a specific pet, shop employees can work with them directly to steer them in the right direction. This is a great way to save not just time, but money as well for pet owners.

*Quick And Convenient

Ordering online does offer the convenience of having access to thousands of items at the touch of a button, but waiting for these items to dispatch can take a long time. For time-sensitive needs, pet stores still offer the quickest and most convenient option for pet owners. They have the ability to cater to local residents while providing quick turnaround times. This means that running out of pet food, supplements or needing a new toy doesn’t require days of waiting.

Even in this technology-driven world, we still greatly rely on the physical presence of pet shops. They provide a gathering place for like-minded individuals while also ensuring that the needs of pets are met in a timely fashion.