The overall pet population is expected to approach 218 million animals, with 62% of U.S. households owning pets. Advances in pet health expenditures will be encouraged by the continuing “humanization” of companion animals and their treatment as family members. Veterinary technology will also continue to adapt diagnostic and treatment techniques from human health care, driving value gains for newer, more costly procedures.
The fastest gains in pet health service spending will remain in pet insurance, with revenues expected to advance more than 11% annually through 2016 to $680 million. While penetration rates will remain low, rising spending on veterinary procedures will encourage more pet owners to select insurance coverage to help mitigate costs. Surgical and non-surgical veterinary care will continue to dominate pet health services, accounting for close to three-quarters of spending. Surgical revenues will remain the larger segment, as these more costly procedures increasingly see technology transfer from human medicine, such as in dialysis and organ transplants. Newly available services typically cost significantly more than established procedures, adding to revenue gains. However, non-veterinary pet care, including boarding and grooming, accounts for significant spending as pet owners opt for services such as “doggy day care” to tend to pets while owners are away at work or on vacation.
At the retail level, consumers are forecast to spend $11.5 billion on pet health products in 2016, supporting $5.6 billion in manufacturers’ level sales. Online pharmacies, pet superstores, and large retailers such as Wal-Mart will continue to gain market share over veterinary practices due to significant cost savings, and major retail centers will dedicate more floor space to pet products. Pharmaceuticals and parasiticides will continue to dominate spending on pet health products, accounting for a combined 63% of the market in 2016. While these two product categories will see the largest gains in demand, they will be outpaced by advances for less mature preventive products such as dietary supplements, diagnostics, and prescription food.