Over the last few years we have received 4-8 enquiries a year from potential clients who want us to design pet products. So, to make sure that we are on trend we have been keeping a close eye on the pet marketplace!
The pet marketplace is growing annually and is predicted to be worth close to £21 billion by the end of 2021. The sector covers everything from pet treats to dog beds and aquariums to dog leads.
Consequently, it’s hardly surprising we keep on getting product design and development enquires from entrepreneurs – and having just completed a project for a special and useful bag design for dog walkers only last week we thought it would be a good idea to visit the PATS* trade show at Sandown Park in Esher, to get a closer feel for the marketplace and pet design trends.
If we had any thoughts that this was a small Mom and Pop business they were quickly put to rest by the professional presentation of clever and innovative pet products on display. The tone of the show was very brisk, friendly and packed with people who were very knowledgeable about consumers tastes. In addition we were struck by how well many of the products were displayed. The quality of presentation was very high and clearly targeted at retailers who expected that everything was packaged and ready to go straight onto their shop shelves.
I even overheard one brand saying they were designing a new piece of ‘furniture’ to go into Garden Centres to display their dog beds as a priority!
With distributors showing products from Australia ( Credit to Doog for the photo ) to the USA it clearly is a market open to the world.
The retailers attending ranged from single site family shops to Garden centre retailers on the hunt for the latest ideas and innovations. Almost every stand boasted it’s ‘green credentials’ and there were plenty of opportunities for retailers to take away products to test.
We were particularly looking to see if our knowledge of the design of pet textile products such as dog leads to walking bags to pet beds and ‘working animal’ products and so on was up to date, and we were really looking to see what was not there so we could help customers create new, break-through, products.
There were a few novelties on show like this inflatable dog coat – but in general we felt that most suppliers were re-styling, colouring and decorating established products rather than innovating anew.
But styling and the appearance of pet products is really important – as pets are an extension of our home lifestyle and members of our families – so it was charming to see quite a few classy British made Tweed Dog coats and even some cork decorated dog collars from one young new entrant to the market.
Stylish Dog Coats & Harnesses
Aesthetically you could see brands such as Dogue Design and Hugo and Hudson were trying hard to create some stylish offering’s and Julius K-9 seem to have cornered the market in purposeful dog harness’s, while the offerings in dog coats seemed a bit predictable. There were also several companies offering dog towelling robes as their latest product even though the idea has been on the market for a few years now.
Credit to Ruff and Tumble for their ‘Dog Drying Mitts’ – these looked very popular even though there are many companies offering this kind of product now.
Pet Publications and Trade shows – what else did we learn?
We checked out the Trade publications such as Pet Business World, who were very helpful and informative (Pet trade Xtra, Pet Gazette, Pet Worldwide are also some of the many publications available) .
In addition it was good to meet a representative from PetQuip ( International Trade Association of Pet Equipment Suppliers) who was there to offer support for British Exporters to attend shows such as the Global Pet Expo in Florida, and Interzoo in Nuremberg.
We also had a chat with the Dog’s Trust and found out they were open to relatively low cost sponsorship for new brands who want to “do good” as well as build their brands.
Design and Product ideas for the Pet market
We could see gaps in the marketplace for more stylish and elegantly finished traditional dog coats and collars. Leads offer so much potential for both safety & functional details as well as comfort for the human and pet alike and the dog beds were so predictable we cant help but think that there is potential to create new ideas.
Suffice to say there is huge potential in the pet marketplace to bring well presented new ideas to a market that is hungry ( woof woof!) for tasty innovations.
Give us a confidential call on (0)1531 640118 to discuss any products you’d like to make – we might even be able to help you manufacture them in the UK.