Halloween Has Gone to the Dogs (and Cats): Pets Are Powering a Significant New Retail Trend

Date: 2022-10-26 13:28:58
By: Cara Zimmerman
Date: 2022-10-26 13:28:58

Pet - Karma Adam Levine in a costume

Karma, pet of Adam Levine, Chief Marketing Officer

There’s a new type of consumer on the Halloween scene – one that is giving retailers “paws.”

Far from sitting out this haunted holiday, our four-legged, fur-covered, slithery, and winged friends are being included in this spooky ritual – creating a robust market built around pooches, kittens, lizards, snakes and other close human companions.

“They are no longer just going along for the ride, they are in the driver’s seat,” said Michael Angelovich, Chief Strategy Officer at Zimmerman Advertising.

Indeed, more than 75 percent of pet parents are planning on dressing up their animal for Halloween and other fall occasions. Some pet parents are even planning on twinning with their fur babies for the festivities! 

Pet Shorty dressed in a pig costume Pets dressed in halloween costumes Pet Matias dressed as a bearded dragon Pet dressed in a halloween costume

Left to right: “Shorty,” pet of Robert Drangel, IT; Captain Seamus McCafferty and Riley Gonzo Stone, pets of Lee Gonzalez, Co-Chief Creative Officer; Luna (bearded dragon), pet of Matias Morante Larrain, Media; Skylar, pet of Krystin Enos, Senior Account Executive.

As a result, the global pet clothing market is expected to reach $7 billion by 2028 – a stat that is simply too robust for retailers to ignore. And one social media study found that nearly a third of pet parents think their animals dressed in costume will drive the most engagement and attention on social media.

PetSmart – looking to capitalize on the trend – signaled that they plan on developing more products targeting costume-seeking parents. For 2022, PetSmart dropped a carnival-themed collection featuring toys, accessories, and costumes for furry and non-furry friends.

But support for this pet-tastic trend is coming from outside the traditional channels as well. Country superstar and entrepreneur Dolly Parton recently launched her own Amazon-based clothing line and toys for pets – aptly named ‘Doggy Parton.’ The launch was wildly popular with the social-media set, with influencers and aspirants snapping up doggy wigs, pink cowgirl hats, blue denim jackets, and more.

And these primped pets are getting more visible in their owners’ real-world lives. According to this study, pets are coming along for the ride with 47 percent joining vacations, 43 percent joining social gatherings, and 25 percent tagging along for trick-or-treating.

“Beyond just dressing up our pets and having fun with them, they are having a significant influence on the decisions we make – the trips we take, where we live, the people we hang out with and even how we spend our money,” said Michael Angelovich, Chief Strategy Officer at Zimmerman Advertising.

Angelovich cited one study that found that 71 percent of pet owners regularly put their pet’s needs before their own – “Their happiness is a top priority,” he said. As a result, our pets are becoming more and more “humanized” – driven by their owners’  growing curiosity of what’s going on inside their heads, along with their unconditional love.

For example, dogs “learn our habits well enough to show us when we veer from them; they anticipate our actions even before we are aware of them. And yet they level no judgment,” Alexandra Horowitz shared in The Atlantic. “People wonder not just what their dogs are thinking but what they are thinking about them — whether they see through our deceits or feel the love we feel for them,” she added.

And, our curiosity and love for our fluffy best friends is only going to grow as technology reveals more about their overall awareness. Machine learning is giving us a dog’s-eye view, showing us how the brains of our best friends interpret the world.

Keep your eye on the pet industry and the hype around dressing up your furry friend this holiday season. This trend or the importance and connection to our furry friends is not slowing down anytime soon.