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Pandemic pet boom creates big opportunities for small businesses

Market lead-er: pet products are a growth area

With an 18% increase in the number of households buying pets in 2021, a staggering 17 million people in the UK now own at least one animal – and this means pet products are set to be a big growth opportunity for SME retailers in 2022.

Products and services for our feathered and furry friends made the list of its 2022 best business ideas, which could help support the demand for pets in the UK and make business owners a tidy profit as their main source of income or a side hustle, according to small business experts Ideas included vet-tech; exotic animal insurance; premium pet food; pet friendly cafes; and pet equipment rental services

With new animals populating so many homes, the demands for equipment are on the rise – but some equipment required may only be for a short-term, temporary basis. Many who may have just bought a kitten need items like small cat trees that their new companion will eventually outgrow. Running an ecommerce site that sells short-term pet equipment is a great way to cater to this growing renters market.

Another area ripe for picking is premium pet foods. According to Statista, as of 2019 approximately 10.4% of pet owners surveyed are feeding their dogs an intermittent plant-based diet.

Lucy McKinna, Founder of vegan dog food company Noochy Poochy says: “Six months in, we have a steady stream of new customers, returning customers and great reviews. We’re being sold in vegan cafes and vegan supermarkets, and have even received interest from Good Morning Britain. The launch of our first product was so successful, we’re about to extend the range and are also looking for investment to take the business to the next level.”

The price of our four legged friends also rose. The average cost of a puppy as of June 2021 was £1,873, a massive 113% increase over the average pre-pandemic cost of £876 – according to a report from Pets At Home. This means people are now willing to spend even more on companionship.

With owners willing to spend so much on their precious pets, it’s likely the demand for both necessary and luxury services will also increase.

Robert Dawson is Co-Founder of Vet-AI, a vet-tech company which uses artificial intelligence to assist with pet problems and symptom checking. He said: “We saw what was happening in the human healthcare sector, with rapid uptake of remote services and development of Artificial Intelligence. We wanted to make the same things available to help pets.

“We are part of a disruptive wave bringing change to a very traditional industry that has struggled to keep up with the changes of a world of rapidly evolving technology,” he says. is encouraging all budding entrepreneurs to consider starting businesses which and side hustles that meet a market demand. Richard Parris, Editor, said: “Many of these opportunities are doable regardless of experience. Not only do we share business trends and data, we also offer the tools to help set you up from accountancy software to website builders.”

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