Generation Z is quickly moving from adolescence into adulthood. Now between the ages of 11 and 26, this generation is using their increasing purchasing power to redefine the brand-consumer relationship. We're beginning to see this take shape in the pet category.
A defining characteristic of Gen Z is their pursuit of a natural lifestyle. We know this as conscious consumerism — seeking out brands, products and experiences that align with a set of shared values and beliefs. Gen Z's natural lifestyle can be broken into two distinct categories: healthy and eco-friendly. How Gen Z cares for their pets is no exception, from the quality and sourcing of ingredients to a food brand's ecological footprint.
We see this as an exciting opportunity — a responsibility, really — for pet brands to evaluate how ready they are to meet Gen Z’s desires and expectations for products that are transparently healthy for their pets and friendly to the environment.
As an exercise, we explored how Gen Z’s conscious consumer pillars — healthy and eco-friendly — could be expressed in the pet space to foster greater connection and consumer loyalty.
Gen Zs Are into Good Health
Health-conscious consumers believe their pet’s wellness is just as important as their own. They want brands they can trust. Not only do products need to be free of hazards like toxins and chemicals, but they also need to deliver added health benefits. Gen Z pet parents want to be assured that their pet’s health will be safeguarded so they’ll be around for a long time.
This past year has had an incredible impact on pets and their parents. We saw a surge in dog adoptions throughout the country as people moved from working in offices to working from home and spending more time with their pets. Now, as we begin to realize a future of less time at home, we need to be mindful of the difficulty our pets are going to have readjusting to spending more time away from their humans. Is your brand ready to help pets and their parents get through this transition naturally?
Gen Zs Love the Earth
Earth-conscious consumers feel good that something as simple as shopping with a reusable bag can make a difference. How can this be applied to pet food?
With ingredients formulated for different breeds, sizes and life stages, finding the right food to meet a pet’s needs can be challenging. And finding one that’s also eco-friendly can seem impossible.
Being digital natives, Gen Z consumers make sifting through the seemingly limitless online catalog of brands and products look easy and effective. So what does that mean for traditional retail? How can the brick-and-mortar brand experience compete?
There is an opportunity for retail stores to use their physical space to their advantage to provide brand experiences that reflect this generation’s values. These experiences need to be engaging and interactive enough to overcome the attributes of e-commerce's convenience and control. Earth-conscious consumers care about sustainable sourcing, recyclable or compostable packaging, and minimizing a product's carbon footprint. However, studies are beginning to show how eco-unfriendly online shopping really is. How can pet retail capitalize on this? Let us challenge the idea of online shopping and explore ways to maximize the brand experience to be both engaging and complementary to Earth-conscious consumers’ values.