Key finding 2: Less-veterinary-dependent pet owners were more likely to change their spending habits in all product categories.
Overall, the survey suggests that consumers are brand-loyal when it comes to pet products and highly bonded when it comes to practices. However, the current economy has forced some—particularly those clients who are less bonded to their veterinarian—to change their patterns, Gavzer says. “In the area of medical care, the Kaiser Foundation has reported that people aren’t keeping preventive care appointments for themselves and they’re trying over-the-counter medication before seeking professional care,” says Gavzer. “Pets are family members today and I think that we’re already seeing trends like this in the veterinary practices across the country.”
According to the survey, less-bonded clients were 5 percent more likely to reduce their veterinary visits: 37 percent visited the practice less often, compared to the 32 percent of highly bonded clients. As for products, Gavzer believes that consumers will shop harder for the best deal and that many will find it online. “I think that will be a bigger change than pet owners switching products,” she says.
More from this study:
Pet owners are brand loyal
Value overrides costs
Dog vs. cat owners: Who's more loyal?
Veterinarians are the indispensible link