Finance and Fido: Who's taking the lead in pet payments?
Providing goods and services to the millions of pet owners in the U.S. and globally is not just dog food, it’s really big business – as in worth billions of dollars. Americans own almost 90 million pet dogs, 94 million cats, 158 million fish, 20 million birds and 9.4 million reptiles according to study by the American Pet Products Association and they spent over $72 billion last year feeding and caring for them.
One of the biggest winners in the pet industry has been the online channel, as consumers are increasingly using it to purchase food, medicines, and bedding to reduce the number of trips to the pet store and veterinarian. Data from Slice Intelligence reveals that 57 percent of online spending is for food and treats while nine percent is for kitty litter and seven percent is for collars and leashes. The study also showed that dog buyers dominate online shopping from America’s largest cities. Dallas had 2.18 online dog supply buyers to every one online cat supply buyer. Houston had a 1.87 to 1 dog-to-cat buyer ratio, Austin had a 1.41 to 1 ratio and Los Angeles had a 1.23 to 1 ratio.
The opportunity for banks and financial services firms, as well as venture capitalists, to serve the pet industry is massive and not being overlooked. Companies such as Synchrony Financial and Wells Fargo have repositioned their human health care credit card programs specifically to serve pet owners to finance their veterinarian bills. Food delivery companies and subscription meal services business have been created to cater to pet owners while venture capital firms have been funding millions to serve this burgeoning industry.