Navigating pet industry competition: Tips for small business pet market triumph

by | Apr 11, 2024 | News

In the fur-raising world of pet care, the arrival of big dogs like Coles (Swaggle) and Ikea might make small businesses bark up the wrong tree. Just like they may have done after Bunnings moved into the field in early 2023, when they announced an expanded category that features close to 1,000 pet products. But fear not. Pet industry competition isn’t a time to be concerned about because beneath the surface lies a treasure trove of opportunities waiting to be unleashed.

Coles has been teasing its foray into selling products for pets under a new brand, Swaggle, which they’ve been advertising to consumers for months but only recently officially launched the brand. And well, Ikea is always around to give people an option for things they need with that fun Swedish twist—who wants to build their dog’s bed anyway?

As the market’s profitability grows, more big brands will likely start selling pet products. In the years I’ve had Wally, I’ve seen hundreds of businesses enter the pet care market, and some have left.

Worried about pet industry competition? Let’s look at some pet industry trends!

The global pet industry is a vast playground with room for all, big and small. Many pet parents are drawn to the unique offerings of local or small businesses, creating a niche that big chains like Ikea or Swaggle can’t fill. The numbers speak for themselves, promising ample profit for all who dare to enter.

In Australia, the pet care industry reached AUD$3.7 billion in 2023. Despite a slight decline due to inflation, the average annual growth rate between 2018 and 2023 was 4.8%. Even with some pet owners tightening their purse strings, the market still experienced massive growth.

No wonder the pet supplies market is expected to grow, given the statistics around pet ownership in Australia. According to the RSPCA, there are 28.7 million pets in Australia. 69% of Australian households have a pet, with dogs just slightly above cats as the preferred pet for Aussie pet owners. Major players like Coles and Ikea are making their mark in this market, but there’s still plenty of room for small businesses to thrive.

The internet has enabled you to reach more customers and turn your small pet business into a player in the global pet space. The global market had a value of USD$246.6 billion in 2023. According to Fortune Business Insights, market growth is predicted to reach USD$259.37 billion in 2024 and USD$427.75 billion by 2032.

So, what can you do as a pet business to improve your chances of succeeding in the competitive pet market? Let’s get into it.


Embracing the benefits of big brands entering the pet market

There’s no need to freak out like a dog when a thunderstorm hits because big brands like Ikea and Coles (under Swaggle) enter the competitive pet supplies landscape. There are still plenty of ways for smaller pet stores, both physical and online, to thrive. By leveraging growth trends within the industry, opportunities exist to increase market awareness, validate industry viability, and collaborate. Small businesses looking to offer products for pets like pet food, pet accessories, and more can carve out their niche and fetch their share of success in the evolving landscape of the global pet market.

Beneath the surface of market size

Small businesses often feel like the underdog when big brands like Coles and Ikea enter the pet industry. But beneath the surface, a wealth of benefits await. From increased market awareness to validation of industry viability, the entry of major players can help smaller businesses thrive.

  1. Increased market awareness: With big brands strutting their stuff in the pet industry spotlight, it’s like rolling out the red carpet for smaller businesses, giving them a chance to shine in the limelight of increased visibility.
  2. Validation of industry viability: When household names invest in the pet market, it’s like a reassuring pat on the back, signalling to investors and pet parents alike that this industry isn’t just a passing fad—it’s the cat’s pyjamas!
  3. Room for niche differentiation: While big brands cast a wide net, small businesses can find their purr-sonal niche, offering specialised products or services tailored to the unique needs of pet parents looking for that extra tail-wagging touch. This could mean focusing on a specific pet species, such as reptiles or birds, or offering unique services like pet training or pet photography.
  4. Collaboration opportunities: Imagine the possibilities that open up when you find the perfect playmate at the dog park. Teaming up with larger companies for distribution or co-branding ventures can be just that, a gateway to new adventures and growth opportunities.

Instead of viewing big brands as rivals, small pet businesses can see them as trailblazers, leading the way to a brighter, more prosperous future for the industry. By embracing the benefits of their presence, smaller players can position themselves for success in the ever-evolving pet market landscape.

Paws-itive strategies for success in the pet care market

In the vast and diverse pet industry, success often hinges on a blend of innovation, resilience, and strategic thinking. Small pet businesses looking to make their mark and thrive amidst competition can adopt several key strategies to bolster their presence, connect with their audience, and drive growth.

Focus on brand differentiation

Small pet businesses can set themselves apart by developing a distinctive brand identity. This involves creating a catchy logo and tagline and infusing the brand with values and personalities that resonate with pet parents. Whether it’s a commitment to sustainability, a focus on locally sourced ingredients, or a quirky sense of humour, a unique brand identity can help small businesses stand out in a crowded market.

Take sustainability as an example; the increasing demand for organic and sustainable pet products presents an excellent opportunity for small businesses to differentiate themselves and attract environmentally conscious pet owners.

Engage with your community

Building solid relationships with the local pet community is essential for small businesses looking to thrive. This can involve participating in pet-related events such as adoption drives or charity fundraisers, sponsoring local sports teams or community festivals, and collaborating with other pet-centric businesses in the area. Additionally, small businesses can leverage social media platforms to connect with pet owners, share valuable content, and showcase their products or services. By actively engaging with the local community online and offline, small businesses can foster a sense of loyalty and trust among customers.

Optimise SEO and content marketing

In today’s digital age, having a robust online presence is crucial for attracting customers and driving sales. Small pet businesses can enhance their visibility and reach by implementing effective SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and content marketing strategies. This involves optimising their website for relevant keywords, creating informative and engaging blog posts, and sharing valuable content on social media channels. By consistently publishing high-quality content that addresses the needs and interests of pet owners, small businesses can establish themselves as authorities in the industry and attract more traffic to their websites. Additionally, investing in SEO can help small businesses improve their search engine rankings and drive organic traffic, ultimately leading to increased visibility and sales.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the pet market, small businesses have every opportunity to fetch their share of success, even in the presence of larger competitors. So wag your tail with confidence and chase those dreams because, in the world of pets, there’s always room for more love, more laughs, and more success!

Ready to make your pet business the cat’s meow?

Let’s take the leash off your potential and unleash the full power of your pet business with tailored SEO and content writing services. From fetching SEO strategies to crafting content that leaves tails wagging, I’m here to help your business thrive in the competitive pet market. Let’s roll over those challenges together. Reach out today and get started!


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