Dec 12, 2018

A Tail-Wagging Opportunity for Retailers' Holiday Marketing

Black Friday Pet Header
With Black Friday in the rear-view mirror, what categories could retailers look to in 2019 to increase sales and win shopping trips next holiday season? The rise in pet ownership suggests our furry friends could be the key to winning shoppers in 2019.

Millennials are blamed for the death and destruction of all sorts of industries: print media, napkins, mediocre casual dining restaurants, cable, the razor industry, motorcycles, diamonds, doorbells, canned tuna, and so much more. It’s not all death and destruction though, we do like some things, and one of those things happens to be pets. Pet ownership has increased 12% over the past thirty years and Gen Z and Millennial consumers account for 62% of pet ownership.

During this growth the relationship with pets as changed from dogs being “man’s best friend” to today’s pet owners treating their animals more like children then buddies, and commonly referring to themselves as “pet parents”. These pet parents are proud of their four-legged family members, joyfully showing you the latest outfits they’ve purchased for their pet Pomeranian, proudly telling you of their labradoodle’s latest feat of brilliance, and adorning their cars with bumper stickers bragging that their border collie is smarter than your honor-roll student.

With Black Friday in the rear-view mirror I looked at the focus of retailers’ Black Friday advertisements by category and was surprised to find what I believe to be a huge gap in focus of pet products. With many households getting a start on their holiday shopping for family members every Black Friday, it seems to be a wasted opportunity to forget about pet parents’ most cherished child – their cat and/or dog.


During October and November this year, retailers ran 6% fewer promotions for pet products compared to the same period last year. Promotions for the category declined at a slower rate than the average category (-13%), but it still feels like a missed opportunity for retailers in using pet products to drive store and online trips during the holiday shopping season.

While ad spend increased during this same time-period, it’s still a fraction of what other categories see during this time. Stores spend a lot of effort and capital to get shoppers in the door and online during Black Friday and being a location that caters to every member of the family, could win you valuable trips next holiday season.

 So, while you’re promoting the latest video games for junior, a new e-reader for the parents, espresso machine for the Mrs., new razor for your Mr. (unless you’re a millennial, apparently, we don’t shave), some socks for that one sibling you don’t particularly like, don’t forget the latest ground-breaking technological advancement in squeaky toy technology for Fido.


Target appears aware of the pet parent craze based on this mobile app ad they ran in October, will they or another retailer make the decision to capitalize on this next holiday season?