New trends in Pet-related relationships and behavior changes
Pet Companionship; an Intensified Relationship during COVID
Presentation Date: Thursday, Oct. 22
Presenters: Kayte Hamilton, Client Partner Director, Kristen Dale, VP Client Partnerships - Central (SCI), and Greg Stucky, Chief Research Officer
Before COVID, what our pets did at home while we were gone at work was a bit of a mystery…but now we are home all the time their lives are ‘not so’ secret any longer. We looked* at both the changes in our pets’ behavior as well as how our pets have been changing our behaviors (some shifts have been more intentional than others).
Pet owners have leaned on their pets as companions during stressful times, as timekeepers and managers, and even as fitness trainers. Quite the job description for a family pet! Speaking of job descriptions; for many households there’s been a more deliberate relationship shift from pet to co-worker with 29% of pet owners feeling like they have a new “work-buddy” the last few months. A few minutes searching on social media and you’ll quickly see how these co-workers are helping their colleagues get through the workday! (Yes, searching for dog memes on Facebook IS research!)
Sixty-seven percent of pet owners’ site they have spent more time at home with their pet as a direct result of COVID. All this added time together had intensified the companionship emotional levels new to new heights and overall relationship roles have new dynamics.
- 96% feel love with their pets; 14% feel more love because of COVID
- 95% feel companionship with their pets; 17% feel more companionship because of COVID
- 94% feel friendship with their pets; 15% feel more friendship because of COVID
"We always loved her dearly, but it is definitely the year of the dog. We are so grateful we have her for entertainment, companionship and love." And it sounds like pets are equally enthralled with their owners during this time. It’s safe to say the feeling is mutual.
Fifty percent of pet owners feel more bonded with their pets themselves and 64% feel their pet is also more bonded with other members of the family/household. This goes beyond simply “spending more time together” and was represented in a range of new pet/owner activities:
- We’re napping more with our pets
- More of us are treating pets like our children
- Talking/Having more conversations with our pets
- Sharing about our pets on social media
- Even more home-grooming (if you’ve ever brought sharp objects around your pet you know this can intensify the trust in the relationship!)
In our next blog post, we’ll go over more of the COVID work-life relationship impacts we see with pets and pet owners.
*Unlike our COVID-19 tracker with Clean Label Enthusiasts®, this data was collected through a range of studies with Category Advisors between September and October 2020 which included more than 500 pet owners. Our Category Advisors is a group established in 2019 who are the Primary Shoppers and Category Users for a wide variety of shopping items; from Food & Beverage, to Supplements, Beauty Care, Personal Care, Home & Air Care, and of course Pets. This list is ever-expanding and an excellent research group for home-use-tests.