The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to a number of technologies that are blurring the boundaries between the physical and the digital: artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, big data and cloud computing are some of the most central elements. It’s causing massive changes in manufacturing, technology, transportation and plenty of other sectors. Now, it’s coming for pets.
The pet industry may be a traditionally low-tech space, but a slew of new companies are working to leverage Industry 4.0 innovations and create a burgeoning space that can only be described as the ‘pet tech industry.’ The products they’re bringing to market may be a peek into the future of many other industries – and they show us how Industry 4.0 will turn almost every aspect of our lives into a quantifiable data stream, allowing us to manage everything from air conditioning to water consumption from one single interface.
Pets have been on the rise in America throughout recent decades. Studies show that more than 85 million families have at least one furry friend, with pet ownership growing 12% throughout the past thirty years. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The past couple of years have seen a boom, and the industry currently enjoys a 14% CAGR. By 2023, industry sales are expected to reach $281 billion in North America alone.
The growth is even more dramatic among Millennials. Millennials attach a special significance to their pets, and that’s likely due to the differences in mentality and life choices they make compared to older generations. Millennials are getting married much later than previous generations and aren’t having children at a young age. As a result, they’re adopting pets instead of starting families, which has caused a spike in consumer demand both for pets and pet products and services. So much so that younger generations own more pets than older ones: of pets in the U.S., 62% belong to younger generations while only 32% belong to Baby Boomers.
Millennials are also naturally more technologically inclined. They better understand how to use digital and software-based solutions, and it feels natural for them to look to software platforms and apps to run their personal lives. Pets are no different, and many are now seeking digital pet services.
Finally, Millennials spend money on their pets. 84% of Millennial pet owners experience separation anxiety, frequently worrying about their pts when apart, and 92% purchase gifts for their pets on a regular basis. Combined with the fact that Millennials now own most pets, this creates an injection of new revenue in the pet services market that’s ready to be claimed by innovative new companies.
All these factors have triggered a spur of investment in pet technology. More than half a billion dollars were invested into the pet startup space in 2018 alone, and leading players like dog walking app Wag! have racked up hundreds of millions in funding. The pet technology industry is expected to match and raise that amount in 2019, making it one of the hottest sectors in the global technology industry.
Most of this data comes from the U.S. and North America, but it’s worth noting that Asian and European markets have also seen increases and are expected to follow a similar growth trajectory.
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