AUDIT: Pet Retail, from paws to tail

Future of Retailing in the Pet Industry

Bonnie’s puppy, Miso, first visit to the Petgamart!

While the economy is still adversely affected by COVID-19, the pet industry is experiencing tremendous growth. Got treats? We do at SPARK! We believe that by responding to social trends and developments in consumer behavior helps brands stay current, top of mind, and maximize the potential value of retail spaces. 


With the increase in pet ownership, healthcare, and spending, Asia’s pet industry has grown 14.3% annually from 2016 to 2021. Singapore’s pet dog and cat figures have grown nearly 19% in five years reaching 196,600 in 2019, in tandem with the rise in overall pet ownership, as illustrated by data from Euromonitor. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Straits Times revealed that having a pet can provide companionship and make the owners’ lives more fulfilling, which is especially true when they give a home to an animal in need.

The pet care industry is booming as people around the world — especially millennials — blurring the line between human child and animal. “Pet parenting” is reshaping the landscape for the consumer packaged goods and retail industries. In a recent study, 34% of owners say their pet influenced where they live and 95% of owners consider pets members of their families.  


Understanding Lead players in the industry: 

In local region, traditional brick-and-mortar establishments such as PLC have successfully positioned themselves as pioneers and exclusive providers of high-quality food and service offerings, such as grooming or daycare. Meanwhile, digital native pet brands such as Perromart and Polypet are steadily gaining more market share.

Pet supplies retailers mastiffs out of Southeast Asia such as Petco and PetSmart consist of concept stores that integrate different pet services where only about one-third of the space is used for selling inventory — the rest is for grooming, veterinary care and other services. These are consolidated stores that provides new service-focused store that aims to give shoppers something they can’t buy online. 

4 Insights and Opportunities in the Pet Industry

1. Separation anxiety 

Some pets suffer terrible separation anxiety when their owner is away but now, it is the opposite of millennial pet owners as shown in recent studies. Post-pandemic, when everything goes back to normal, how will attached paw-rents manage with not being with their fur kids? 


Pawrents, you don’t have to feel guilty about leaving your pup at home alone all day anymore.
TFB The Fantastic Beasts | A small zoo on the fifth floor of the prosperous coastal city of Shenzhen

Opportunity 1: Rise of pet-friendly co-working spaces that allow owners to ice break with others in shared spaces especially when fur-kids interact around. 


Opportunity 2: Due to the pandemic, many are not being able to travel – hotels that are pet-friendly might stay ahead of others. Post-covid, there might be a surge of demand for hospitality and services with pets.


2. Is it good enough for my pet?

The desire for healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle is projected as needs/wants for their pets, possibly an extension of human trends in nutrition, ingredients, and exercise. In short, what they want for themselves, they want for their pets.

These are consumers that are interested in going BPA-free on toys, spending a little more on natural and organic food, or seeking out hypoallergenic cleaning products. The paradigm shift of ‘pet-parenting’ has set off changes in how consumers shop, forcing retailers and manufacturers alike to reinvent themselves.


Human-grade bone broth for pets
Petco is taking experiential retail to a new level with the opening of its first-ever pet food kitchen today.
Opportunity: There is an opportunity to commercialize this trend by mirroring human-retail trend into a vast range of goods and services – from pet insurance, dog beer to cat counseling, from pet weddings to “social petworking”
3. The Third Place, a specialized wellness center
The pet health and wellness market has been the second biggest segment under the industry umbrella, followed closely after the pet-food & treats market. At SPARK, we have seen a rise in services such as hydrotherapy, acupuncture, sending pet samples abroad for DNA testing to learn about pet ancestry, and allergy all the way to pet paw care products. These are examples that align with pet-humanization.


Opportunity 1: There is a missed opportunity for a specialist Center for senior pets. Eg, a space for common pet ailments such as allergy issues (case study on Balu), weight loss & mobility. 

This working hospital, therapy, and recovery center serves traumatized animals and helps them heal through its surgery rooms, an x-ray room, a hydrotherapy treadmill, grooming rooms, relief rooms, isolation rooms, and a substantial food-prep area.


Vodka the labrador, during a hydrotherapy session!

Opportunity 2: Along with old age, the end of life comes as well. With pets seen akin to family members, there is an opportunity for services for the bereaved.

Sanctuary Pet Cremation, located at Neo Tiew Lane, Singapore

4. The Great Dane in the retail sphere

Conceptual programs such as check-up area, bath area, spa area, grooming area, dry area, and massage area for the pets
In the Southeast Asia region, supply-chain pet supplies retailers are sparse through-out. Where is the one stop destination for pets, from fur, fin and feathers? We see big boxes retailer for other industries, eg for sports we have DECATHLON, for home finishes we have IKEA, what about for pets in Southeast Asia?
Petbarn sells one of the biggest ranges of pet food in Australia.
Opportunity: What are the possible experiences we can combine it with if we do have a PET BIG BOX, other than it being a retail destination? Cafe? Swimming pool? Boarding? Agility courses? At SPARK, we believe that integrating user experience with pet-bond activities will create spaces that customers return to again and again.
In LA, Blue Collar Working Dog: A Combined Retail Space and Agility Course
Nova Pets | a communal place where pet and people can mingle with different experiential zones



What’s next?

Being clear about what the brand stands for, paying attention to how your customer interacts with space, and keeping up to date with emerging technologies helps us create spaces that customers return to again and again. 

SPARK are Retail Design and Customer Experience specialists, we look to the future to help businesses re-imagine their retail experiences and ensure they remain relevant to the consumer, building brand value and maximising the potential of retail spaces.

Featuring our furry friends of SPARK, Miso (Pomsky) and Vodka (Labrador)!


Contact us for a confidential discussion  or view some of our other projects online

SPARK is a Singapore based retail design specialist, delivering unique and effective retail design solutions for its clients across the Asia Pacific Region.

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