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Tall Drink of Water

Market Analysis Summary

According an April 2004 American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. (APPMA) news release, pet owners are projected to spend “$2.2 billion for other [pet] services” in 2004. That’s a small portion of the more than $34 billion they will spend on all classes of pet care and product spending in 2004. The same APPMA news release reports that consumer spending on pet products has doubled from $17 billion to a projected $34 billion since 1994 when the APPMA first began tracking pet industry statistics.

One market research company, Mindbranch, states that “inadequate marketing has resulted in annual sales returns well below the level this market should deliver,” which indicates that growth in this market could be much stronger if marketing efforts were more sophisticated than they are in the current fragmented market.

Based on our industry research, we think we have opportunities to attract customers from the following market groups:

  • Design professionals
  • Pet care professionals
  • Government agencies
  • Individual consumers

The first three groups were selected because they offer growth outside of the “usual” pet products consumer;  their favorable opinion of the product may help establish product reliability, brand credibility and influence individual consumer purchases. 

4.1 Market Segmentation

The four target market segments selected for this product are design professionals, pet care professionals, government agencies and individual consumers. Each segment is described below and illustrated in following market analysis pie chart.

Design Professionals
Interior designers, architects, and landscape architects, were selected as a target market for this product because the deluxe models are intended to be customized to meet pets’ and owners’ needs. Designers who have clients with pets will have access to a solution that is integral to their designs, not an afterthought. The 2000 U.S. Census Occupations report shows 1,926,689 people in architecture and engineering fields, but for the purposes of this plan, we used the numbers reported by professional organizations rather than Census data, because it is more specific and representative of the populations we would have access to:

  • Interior designers (American Society of Interior Designers): 20,000
  • Architects (American Institute of Architects): 70,000
  • Landscape architects (American Society of Landscape Architects): 14,200

Pet Care Professionals
Veterinarians, breeders, kennels and pet day care centers also need access to a customized solution that works best for their clients. Veterinarians recognize the health benefits of elevated feeders for pet digestive health, as well as for the the joint, muscle and skeletal health of older pets. They also recognize the benefits and pet preference for flowing rather than stagnant water and can offer these products to clients to address those health needs. Breeders, kennels and pet day care centers all may have multiple pet facilities. Some of these facilities cater to high-end clients who want assurance that their existing or future pets are well cared for. Our customized multiple pet units can meet the pet care professionals’ needs for feeding and watering pets and the pet owners’ need to know that their pets are receiving high-quality care.

We used data from the American Veterinary Medical Association and the 2000 U.S. Census for market data for this segment:

  • Veterinarians (American Veterinary Medical Association): 69,000
  • Pet care except veterinary services (2000 US Census): 28,320.

Government Agencies
Police departments and fire departments use dogs as service animals. They may benefit from a customized, multiple-pet solution. Parks and recreation departments that build and maintain dog runs or dog parks may also benefit from a customized solution. In our research, we have found that New York City area dog runs often have one water dish used by hundreds of dogs throughout the day. We can offer another way for parks and recreation departments to address the need to offer hydration for pets in these locations: multiple height, water-dish-only units.

Market data for this segment was obtained from the 2002 US Government Census report that shows parks and recreation and fire protection departments as special district governments totaling 1,314 and 5,743 respectively, while state and local police agencies in 2000 totalled 17,784. Further research may indicate that this market should be further segmented to focus on New York City agencies to start.

Individual Consumers
The largest number of potential buyers for these products are individual consumers. Industry experts estimate that more than 55% of U.S. households own at least one pet cat or dog; many own multiple pets. The 2000 Census reported a total population of 281,421,960; 55% of that number represents our potential individual consumer market, 154,782,078.

We project that the individual consumer segment will grow at a rate of 10% per year, while the commercial market segment, design professionals, pet care professionals and government agencies, is forecasted to grow at a rate of 5% annually.

Pet supplies business plan, market analysis summary chart image

Market Analysis
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Potential Customers Growth CAGR
Individual consumers (1000’s) 10% 154,782 170,260 187,286 206,014 226,616 10.00%
Government agencies 5% 24,841 26,083 27,387 28,756 30,194 5.00%
Design professionals 5% 104,200 109,410 114,881 120,625 126,656 5.00%
Pet care professionals 5% 28,320 29,736 31,223 32,784 34,423 5.00%
Total 7.57% 312,143 335,489 360,777 388,179 417,889 7.57%

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

The initial market focus will be on the commercial market segments: design professionals, pet care professionals and government agencies. Design professionals were selected because they can recommend customized product solutions to existing pet owners as an added value to their new or remodeled home. Pet care professionals can inform, assure and influence pet owners regarding the health benefits of the products for their pets. Government agencies can offer the product as value added to attract visitors to dog runs and dog parks by demonstrating an interest in the health and well-being to pets that visit them. Other government agencies, police and fire departments that use service dogs can benefit from improved feeding and watering for the larger breed dogs typically employed for this kind of service. Together, these market segments were selected to establish product reliability, brand credibility and brand recognition.

Once the products are established in the commercial market segments, the company will introduce them to individual consumers who think of their pets as family, and are style and status conscious.

To support this strategy, we will attend industry trade shows and enter design competitions. This strategy will allow us to form partnerships with people and organizations that can help the company establish the highest level of product performance and customer service.

4.3 Industry Analysis

In an April 2003 news release, the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) forecasted that pet owners would spend $31 billion for the care, feeding, spoiling and pampering of their pets. According to their April 2004 news release, actual spending on pet products in 2003 was $32.4 billion, $1.4 billion more than projected. Industry researchers estimate that the industry will grow between 5% and 15% annually through 2008.

Industry experts also report that the pet products industry is competitive and highly fragmented with no clear brand leadership, and under utilized marketing opportunities. There are opportunities for successful entry to it that we intend to use to our advantage.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

We have many competitors in the pet products industry. Direct competitors are designers and manufacturers of elevated pet feeders and complementary products such as pet fountains. In our research, we identified one direct competitor that is publicly traded, OurPet’s Company. Other competitors include, but are not limited to, private companies:

  • Doskocil Manufacturing Company (LeBistro feeders and waterers)
  • Veterinary Ventures, Inc. (Drinkwell fountains)
  • A Charmed Life (Elevated feeders)

Indirect competitors for pet-related purchases include, but are not limited to, large public pet products corporations:

  • Nestle Purina PetCare

Large bricks and clicks retailers:

  • Wal-Mart
  • K-Mart
  • Target

Online and catalog retailers:

  • Drs. Foster & Smith
  • Watson’s Pet Company
  • Orvis

Current consumer buying habits for elevated pet feeders are driven primarily by the products’ functionality, elevating pets’ food and water dishes to a level that is healthier for them or providing flowing water, which pets not only prefer, but is also healthier for them, encouraging hydration and reducing microorganism growth that occurs in stagnant water.

Some consumers, dissatisfied by current market offerings for elevated pet feeders are building their own elevated feeders or asking friends or relatives to build them to suit their unique space, aesthetic tastes or pet needs. Others, like me, are starting companies of their own to offer products to address consumers needs for functional products that also suit the owners’ needs for products that fit their lifestyles.