The fact that the popularity of pet products sourced and manufactured in the United States has soared isn’t new information, but the actual numbers are still very impressive.
An increase in pet food and treat recalls over the last two years combined with the impact of a hard-hitting recession have created heightened consumer awareness surrounding the source of ingredients/parts/components and the location of manufacturing of both consumables and hard goods.
In an article by Erik J. Martin published in Pet Age Magazine on July 3, 2014:
Statistics show that shoppers are paying attention to where their pet items are being produced. A survey conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center in 2013 found that 78 percent of Americans favor buying American goods when given a choice between an item made domestically and an identical one made abroad.
Four out of five consumers notice a “Made in the USA” label on product packaging, and 76 percent of these respondents indicated they would be more inclined to purchase a product based on that label, per the results of a Perception Research Services International study published in 2012.
And 80 percent of consumers polled in a Boston Consulting Group survey revealed they would be willing to pay extra for Made in the USA wares than for those sporting a “Made in China” label.
Want more proof that consumers care where their pet merchandise comes from?
Per the findings of a Harris Poll conducted last year, 75 percent of Americans agree that a product must be manufactured within the U.S. for them to consider it American, and those surveyed considered the following factors “very important” or “important”: keeping jobs in America (90 percent); supporting American companies (87 percent); safety concerns, quality concerns and human rights issues, respectively, with products assembled/produced outside the U.S. (82 percent, 83 percent and 76 percent); patriotism (76 percent); and decreasing environmental impact, since products don’t need to travel as far (71 percent).
You can read the complete article here on PetAge.com.
So what does all of this mean for pet product manufacturers?
Although there is greater price elasticity for products sourced and manufactured in the U.S., the goal of these “home-grown brands” will be to implement designs, technology and processes that keep production costs low allowing for prices to stay inline with competition and consumer spending expectations.
For those products that are sourced or produced overseas, transparency and connection are the two best weapons that help battle any negative perceptions of pet products made abroad:
1. Transparency – Allowing consumers to have knowledge surrounding the processes and quality controls that you have in place will go a long way in growing consumer trust.
2. Connection – What story do you have that will resonate with your audience? Is your mission or vision uniquely compelling? Does your brand align easily with a cause that resonates consumers? Do you have a mascot that consumers can relate to? Can you position your brand as a lifestyle brand that improve’s the life of your consumer?