Are vets anachronic in the one-stop shopping and online services age ?

US-based animal health-focused consultancy ActiVet has revealed results of online research it conducted among 1,500 US pet owners aged 21 to 79 in a new report.

ActiVet said generational, attitudinal and technological forces have combined to create a new pet care landscape for companion animal owners and veterinary service providers. Younger generations, described as the « pet gen » in the report are at the forefront of this shift – defined by always-on connectivity, social sharing, immediacy and frictionless transactions.

While most pet parents continue to use independent veterinarians (77% of survey respondents), ActiVet’s report said barriers to newer healthcare options are falling.

The survey suggested visits to the vet decline with the age of the pet owner. Generation Z respondents went to the vet around 5.4 times per year, while visits for baby boomers (2.2 times) and the silent generation (1.9) were considerably less.

ActiVet chief executive Sébastien Lafon told Animal Pharm: « Clinics in retail stores with multiple locations and more convenient hours appeal to gen Z and millennial pet parents. These shifts are consistent with trends in human health – primary care services have been offered at pharmacies and store fronts for over a decade. Less-than-stellar satisfaction with the primary vet has given rise to information-thirsty pet parents, who soak up information from multiple sources in making decisions. This is truly an opportunity for the independent vet and large organizations to help fill the information and convenience gap.

« Gen Z and millennials indicate they visit different vets because they cannot always get appointments when they want or prefer to combine a vet visit with other errands. They see few negative consequences of those decisions. »

The report said younger generations tend to see the quality of medical care within a retail environment as being « just as good as an independent veterinarian ». Younger respondents also said their vet takes a holistic view when treating their pet (although this primary vet could be inside a retail environment).

The survey respondents indicated the proportion of their online purchases will increase in the year ahead.

« 83% of respondents do not currently own any type of pet monitoring system, » it stated. « As age increases, that percentage grows. Generation Z and millennials are more likely to own both passive and interactive systems. This implies an increasing market opportunity for monitoring technology as younger generations age.

« 85% of those with a pet monitoring system have an integrated smart phone app and interestingly this figure is almost universal among those in generation X and older. 78% of those with a pet monitoring system are checking on their pet either continuously or multiple times a day. The percent who are doing so continuously is highest for millennials.

« Of those who do not currently have a pet monitoring system, 45% overall express significant positive interest – with strongest interest among generation Z and millennial pet parents. »

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