Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Independent veterinary hospitals see the majority of animal patients but face pressure from in-store clinics and the willingness of younger pet owners to embrace non-traditional care providers, according to a new report.
The market research firm Packaged Facts found that 55% of dog or cat owners who sought veterinary care within the past 12 months went to local, independent clinics. Three-fourths of baby boomers (ages 55 to 74) favored traditional practitioners compared with about 4 in 10 millennials or Generation Zers (ages 18 to 39).
Today’s independent practices are competing against what Packaged Facts called “alternative veterinary care formats.” These include specialty and emergency clinics, large networks such as Banfield and VCA, smaller in-store chains like Thrive and PetIQ, and telemedicine providers.
“Following in the footsteps of PetSmart’s longstanding affiliation with Banfield Pet Hospitals, Petco is adding Thrive (in-store) and PetCoach (freestanding) clinics,” Packaged Facts stated. “PetIQ is partnering with Walmart to open vet clinics in as many as 1,000 stores by the end of 2023, and subsequently is partnering with Meijer.”
The messaging is strong when pet owners visit a store housing a veterinary clinic, according to Packages Facts.
“Not only do these in-store clinics offer consumers increased access to veterinary care and pet medications, their presence promotes the overall concept of pet wellness, reminding pet owners of the importance of caring for their pets’ health and making it more convenient to do so,” the firm stated.
“Even so, such expansion presents challenges to the business success of many traditional, independent vets and to the autonomy of the veterinarian profession, by shifting the balance of power in favor of larger consumer market players and forces.”
Among other findings contained in the report “Veterinary Services in the U.S.: Competing for the Pet Care Customer, 2nd Edition”:
- More than 90% of dog or cat owners somewhat or strongly agreed that they considered their pet part of their family.
- 82% of dog owners and 65% of cat owners took their pet or pets to a veterinary clinic, most often for a routine or non-emergency visit.
- 68% of dog owners and 63% of cat owners went to a veterinarian for a vaccination within the previous 12 months.
- 37% of dog owners and 25% of cat owners went to a clinic to pick up medications.
The full report is available for purchase at http://bit.ly/2LGzJpg.
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