Freeman Cebu Business

Pet mania

FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel Abalos - Philstar.com

With the current mutations and waves of new infections, it seems that there is no end in sight as far as this pandemic is concerned. Yes, vaccines are already available, but the pace by which mutations and infections are happening is so worrying. The fact alone that Pfizer is now insinuating that a third booster shot is necessary only added more anxieties to a future that is already full of uncertainties.

Indeed, the current surge in mutations, infections and deaths in the world’s more advanced and wealthy economies make us, a poor country, doubt on our capabilities to contain it. The surges in Cebu and in our neighboring islands like Negros and Bohol just added doubts too. As we all deal with these surges, more reasons to doubt linger.    

Consequently, controls between islands and provinces were reinstituted. As if the residents in the neighboring local government units are the culprits not the laxity in the implementation within their turfs of the proven health protocols. Possibly, therefore, what follows next will be the execution of the proven “virus surge containing but economy contracting lockdown” solution. When that happens, we will be holed up in our homes again. 

To those who are already working from home, that’s no longer a challenge. In fact, by now, they no longer treat it as the new normal. To most of them, with or without the virus, this is already their normal.

To the wealthy whose preoccupation then was throwing wads of cash in department stores and go bar and restaurant hopping right after, they must have already learned to kill boredom these days by engaging in healthy hobbies. To the wage earners whose jobs won’t make working from home possible, they must have engaged in small income generating activities just to make both ends meet.

Indeed, there are many things the ongoing pandemic has brought while we were holed up in our homes. One of these activities that has pervaded globally is now referred to as plantdemic. This word is a portmanteau (a made-up or blended word that combines the meaning of both words) of words plant and pandemic. It means a worldwide spread of the interest in gardening and nurturing plants inside one’s household. 

Palpably, there is a plantdemic. Though popular among urban dwellers, this newfound love for gardening is so contagious that it also infected those in the countryside. In fact, environmentalists are happy as this latest craze will somehow address the growing concerns on the ill effects of climate change. 

However, not all went for this plant mania. Well, individually unique, we all have different preferences. Reasons run from the lack of space to just being not fond of it. To beat boredom, some went for something where reactions abound. As plants can’t do that, they went for pet parenthood. 

So that, today, pet mania obtains, globally. Though too apparent here in Cebu and in the country, there are no credible figures or statistics that can validate this domestically. In the USA, however, figures are staggering and encouraging. For one, in 2020, USA’s pet industry, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), made history by reaching US$103.6 billion in sales. This represents an increase of 6.7% over 2019 retail sales of US$97.1 billion.

US$42 billion of this amount was spent on pet food and treats, a 9.7% increase year over year; US$31.4 billion was spent on vet care and product sales, a 7.2% increase; and US$22.1 billion was spent on supplies, live animals and over-the-counter medications, a 15.1% increase from 2019.  While the industry’s historical average growth is only 3% to 4%, according to APPA, this year, it is expected to grow by 5.8%. 

Obviously, this growth is pandemic driven. However, with the first timers founding the love for the good side of it, the pet industry will surely flourish, with or without a pandemic. Therefore, it will be of significance to know a very important statistics that students may find interesting in trying to find a career and for struggling entrepreneurs in deciding what business to shift to. 

The fact is, while only 3% of the baby boomers welcomed a new pet, 16% of Generation Z respondents and 13% of millennials have done so. With these generations in it, the future ones will certainly go for it too. Therefore, senior high students may find a good future in becoming veterinarians.  Struggling entrepreneurs may find some encouragement and consider shifting to this growing industry.

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