Let the Festivities Begin
Owners plan to celebrate the season with their pets, and businesses
that get in the holiday spirit can capitalize on the increased end-of-year sales.
BY SANDY CHEBAT
Looking ahead to the final quarter of the year, retailers are gearing up for holi- day sales and fun.
;;e find that our customers love to include their pets in all of the holiday festivities,” said ;aul Allen, C;; of ;oof ;ang
;akery Inc., a chain with headquarters in
And that includes purchasing toys
and treats, said ;eorge ;ichter, co;owner of ;og.; og.Cat. in South ;ake Tahoe,
;;oliday pet product trends are being driven by the rise in popularity of parades, special events, and charities centered
around holiday timing and themes,” said
;ulie Stansell, senior manager, insights, at
;etmate in Arlington, Te;as. ;;alloween
has also become an increased focus for the
;or ;alloween, ;obin ;ershner, e;ecu-
tive vice president of ;et ;alette in Sykes-
ville, ;d., finds pet owners moving to-
ward smaller neckwear accessories, such
as bowties and bandannas, instead of full
;;e;ve seen a decrease in costume sales
over the last three years,” she said, adding
that accessories sales are up instead.
;hile ;alloween and ;anukkah prod-
ucts are represented, ;ichter and others
see them as a distant second to Christmas
;Similar to ;alloween, everyone wants
to dress their dog for the parade, Christmas
;ay, etc., and prefers the lower;end acces-
sories, such as Christmas;themed scrunch-
ies, to bring the dog into the holiday for
;;;,” ;ershner said.
Christmas;themed toys, such as gingerbread men and Christmas animals, or food
items like candy canes and mints remain
tremendously popular, said ;ershner, adding that sales of dog and cat toys run neck
and neck for Christmas.
;or dog owners, toy durability is
;;hen it comes to plush products for
holidays or otherwise, the trend is durability,” said Spencer ;illiams, owner and
C;; of ;est ;aw ;esign in ;ozeman,
;ont. ;Customers are not looking for a
toy their dog will chew up and they;ll
have to toss out;they want their dog
toys to last.”
;ark ;atkins, sales manager for
;ippy;aws in Chino, Calif., agreed and
reported seeing increased demand for
larger dog toys.
;Consumers are wanting to get the
most for their money with toys that last,”
he said. ; They also want to have more options for larger dogs with new and e;citing ways to play.”
;ne of the biggest changes ;inger
;ussey, director of sales at Imperial Cat in
;orrilton, Ark., has witnessed in the cat
toys and accessories category is ;a quantum leap in innovation and creativity.”
; Thanks to the new materials and technologies, there;s now a wide array of interactive electronic products confronting
shoppers when they step into the toy or
accessory aisle,” she said.
MAKING THE SALE
“During the holidays is the least important time of the year
for education,” said George Richter, co-owner of Dog.Dog.
Cat. in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. “Consumers are far more
inclined to pick up a basket and fill it up with stuff without
any hesitation during the holidays—more than any other
Retailers and manufacturers agreed that providing
excellent customer service and helpful information remain
“It’s good for retailers to be able to provide helpful
information to match toys and accessories to the personality
of their customers’ dogs,” said Mark Watkins, sales manager
for ZippyPaws in Chino, Calif. “It can help people make wise
decisions on products, and customers will appreciate that
and tend to come back for more.”
Spencer Williams, owner and CEO of West Paw Design
in Bozeman, Mont., added that this is a safety concern.
“Safety is paramount,” he said. “Therefore, West Paw
stresses that customers understand and know their dog’s
chew and play behavior before they purchase any toy for
In the toy category, Ginger Bussey, director of sales
at Imperial Cat in Morrilton, Ark., said demonstration is an
important factor in consumer education.
“The more space a retailer can devote to demos, the
more successful his or her merchandising efforts will be,”
Another category where demos can prove effective is
“It is important to choose a jacket that is comfortable
for the dog,” said Lars Lund, sales director Americas for
Kruuse A/S, which is headquartered in Langeskov, Denmark.
“So, first of all, measure well and get the right fit.”