A new class of on-demand services is elevating pet care.
According to veterinarian service company VitusVet, Americans welcomed home 47 million pets in 2020, a 5% increase from 2019. Following the rise in pet ownership, Morgan Stanley predicts that the pet care business will reach $275 billion by 2030. Capitalizing on this growth, a slew of new offerings is bringing on-demand service models to the pet care space.
PetSmart and DoorDash are bringing convenience retail to pet owners. The pet retailer and food delivery platform announced a new partnership in June 2021, which extends DoorDash’s same-day delivery to pet care, food, toys.
Dutch hopes to do for pet care what Hims did for men’s health. Hims cofounder Joe Spector launched the new pet telehealth startup in July 2021 with $5 million in seed funding from Forerunner Ventures, as well as investment from Andrew Dudum, the current CEO of Hims/Hers. “With the $100 billion pet sector thriving, pet health trailing human health when it comes to digital evolution, and pet parents increasingly sold on the merits and ease of telemedicine post-pandemic, there’s never been a better time to back problem solvers in the category,” Forerunner partner Nicole Johnson told Forbes.
Apps like Groomit, which offers salon-quality pet grooming at home, expands the on-demand economy to pet care services. The app optimizes care convenience, letting users choose from several care packages, select organic products or personalized service add-ons and schedule the date and time for the grooming. Groomit founder Anna Zege draws a parallel between the app and existing beauty and wellness services like Glam Squad and Zeel.
In the US, a number of on-demand pet walking and sitter startups are seeing a spike in usage and revenue. Wag reported a 50% increase in services from February to March 2021, and Rover said that their gross bookings are at an all-time high. In May 2021, Rover reported a gross bookings value (GBV) of $45.4 million, the highest in a single month to date—surpassing the previous high of $42 million in July 2019.
Rover CEO Aaron Easterly explains that the company’s growth—as well as the growth of the sector—has been fueled by the rise of petrenthood. “There is this broad trend of the humanization of pets,” Easterly told Quartz. “As income rises, people get married later and have fewer children. It creates this vacuum where pets become our de facto children.” According to Wunderman Thompson Intelligence’s research, 89% of single Americans and 91% of Americans in committed relationships believe that pets are like de facto children. As Morgan Stanley aptly put it, “welcome to the Petriarchy.”
Main image courtesy of Dutch