Pets are part of the family – and big business. A 2022 report from the American Pet Products Association says 7 in 10 American households (more than 90 million) include at least one pet, and we spend almost $124 billion on our pets each year. Dogs still lead the pack, followed by cats, then fish and other critters.
Driven in part by increased animal adoptions and more time at home during the pandemic, we’re also spending a lot more time with our furry (and feathered and finned) friends. Building a connection is what promotional products industry are all about, so it makes sense for brands to tap into the emotional investment people have in their pets.
Katherine Smith, director of sales and marketing for Houston-based distributor Bullpen Marketing, encourages her sales team to consider pet promo items for all kinds of clients.
“The cool thing about pet items is that it evokes that emotional connection that people have to their pets. It’s such a powerful branding tool for that reason,” she says, “because you put your logo on it and you give it to somebody and they get to use it for their pet and they get so excited about that, and that’s the emotional connection that you want them to have when they think of your brand.”
April 11 marks National Pet Day, and May is National Pet Month in the U.S. But let’s face it – every day is dog or cat (or ferret or whatever) appreciation day once an animal has captured your heart, so anytime is a good time to add pet promo products into the mix.
Plenty of suppliers have rolled out new pet lines in the past year. Michael Williams, director of national accounts for New York-based supplier AZX Sport, says interest in promotional pet products is increasing, particularly generic pieces that aren’t tied to the size of the animal, and on-the-go items like collapsible water bowls.
“We sell way more leashes than we do collars, because a leash is good for any dog out there or any cat or any animal that you’re taking on a walk,” says Williams. “And we’re seeing a ton of requests for pet bandanas, because it’s super easy to tie around the animal’s neck and relatively one size fits most.”
On the more custom side, he notes some fun projects with promo products matching owners to their pets. After all, the D-O-double-G himself launched the “Snoop Doggie Doggs” pet accessory line last year.