Cats as a rule do not like change, and their owners don’t like having to struggle with their cats’ refusal to adapt to change, especially when that change involves the litter box. Notoriously finicky felines are one of the main reasons cat owners stick with familiar products—even if those products aren’t perfect. In the cat litter market, the failure of a new product can be too messy (and rugs too expensive!) for cat owners to risk changing litter products on a whim. The tough question for cat litter marketers is therefore: How do you convince cat owners to try new litter products? In Cat Litter: U.S. Pet Market Trends and Opportunities, Packaged Facts investigates how marketers can best appeal to cat owners, exploring the features that are in highest demand among litter purchasers and detailing how new technologies in litter can help compel cat owners to change litter types by offering them solutions to their biggest litter-related problems.
87% of Cat Owners Purchase Pet Litter
Cat litter is a staple in most cat-owning households, with Packaged Facts survey results indicating that 87% of cat owners have purchased cat litter in the past 12 months. As the largest category in the non-food pet supplies market, cat litter is expected to hit sales of $2.8 billion by the end of 2017, and Packaged Facts forecasts that this mature category will grow steadily along with the overall pet market. Fueling this growth are litter products that make cleaning the litter box easier, help with odor control, and are low-mess, low-maintenance, and cat-friendly.
Trends & Opportunities in Cat Litter Market
Opportunities abound for marketers able to engage with cat owners about the challenges surrounding litter use and deliver products tailored to meet their needs. In promoting new types of litter, marketers must make every effort to help cat owners transition their pets successfully to the new product, while avoiding such pitfalls as cats’ refusing to go in the box. At the same time, litter users expect convenience, efficacy, and ease of use, so successful products will involve less frequent and easier litter box maintenance, with impeccable odor control. Cat owners are also demanding litter products that are safe or can even play a positive role in their cat’s health, as well as safe for the environment. Another frontier ripe for additional development is private label—pet owners are highly receptive to competitively priced store brands incorporating features equivalent or superior to those of national brands. At the same time, the Internet is increasingly the channel of choice for many pet owners, and litter purchasers will almost certainly soon follow suit, making social media and mobile marketing ideal avenues of communication.
-- by David Lummis, pet market research analyst