Move Over Millennials


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Now that we’ve seemingly got the Millennials all figured out—at least when it comes to how they shop for pet products—is it time to shift our focus to the next up-and-coming generation of consumers? 

It might be a bit too soon for that. The Millennial generation (typically defined as people born between 1981-1997) just recently fully became a driving force in consumer spending, now outranking Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in the U.S. And as you will read in this month’s cover story, which marries the latest market research into Millennials’ spending habits with first-person accounts from retailers and pet owners themselves, it is a generation that has been very good for the pet industry so far and should be for years to come.

But make no mistake, it’s only a matter of time before the spotlight moves off of Millennials and marketing gurus and industry prognosticators are vaunting the latest research into the next generation, alternately referred to as the Post-Millennials, Generation Z or the iGeneration. 

It’s never too early to start thinking about the future. In fact, ignoring the development of these potential future pet owners would be downright irresponsible. The Post-Millennials will likely turn out to be an even bigger consumer base than their generational predecessors and, like most children, have a natural attraction to animals—particularly pets.

Still, the industry faces a number of challenges in turning these young animal enthusiasts into a burgeoning customer base full of responsible pet owners. That is where initiatives like the Pet Care Trust’s Pets in the Classroom can be a huge help. 

This educational program provides grants for teachers to purchase and maintain small animals, giving students the opportunity to interact with pets from an early age. Pets in the Classroom has proven quite successful since it was launched in 2010, distributing more than 91 thousand grants and helping provide approximately 3.5 million children with daily contact with pets. What’s more, the Pet Care Trust is on the verge of releasing the final results of a study that it funded along with the Human Animal Bond Research Institute and American Humane Association, which will likely reveal the direct benefits of classroom pets on students’ socialization and academic performance.

Even with all of this success, however, the program still needs the support of retailers and every other member of the pet industry. Whether it is in the form of a direct monetary donation, the sponsorship of a particular classroom or simply spreading the word about the program in your local school district, every contribution helps not only the students in question, but also the future of the pet industry.

 

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