With work now well under way on the twentieth edition of the event – which will be held in BolognaFiere from 15th to 17th May 2023 – Zoomark is reaching out to pet market professionals with a programme of webinars on the most topical issues facing the industry: a preview of the packed calendar of official and educational events that Zoomark is developing for exhibitors and visitors.
The first online meeting, entitled “The national and international scenarios of the pet market. An exploration in the run-up to Zoomark 2023, with a view to making the most of the show”, took place on Thursday 24th November and involved Luciano Fassa, General Manager of Monge & C. S.p.A., Paolo Castegnaro, Operations Manager of Trixie Italia S.p.A., and Paola Cane, CEO of MiaSolutions, who is working with Zoomark on the Pet Vision project, the area dedicated to new products and new trends in the sector.
The round table discussion, which was followed by around a hundred professionals, was moderated by Davide Bartesaghi, Editorial Director of Pet B2B.
In his introductory greeting, Domenico Lunghi, Director of Direct Events at BolognaFiere, underlined the great success of the Zoomark 2023 promotional campaign: compared to the last pre-Covid edition (2019), the 2023 event has more exhibitors and an extra hall, while compared to the 2021 event it has two more halls, new international delegations and a number of countries taking part for the first time.
Good news: the pet industry is a ‘Covid Winner’
“The pet market has proven to be a Covid Winner,” said Luciano Fassa from Monge. “Over the last two years”, he added, “the increase in the number of pets in Italian households has led to exceptional results across the industry. It is not yet clear how the rising prices of energy and raw materials and the rate of inflation will impact on the consumer, but we must remain optimistic, because the market is in good health, and has solid foundations: pets are now to all intents and purposes members of the family”.
According to the speakers, the best-performing food products in 2022 are snacks and single-serve wet foods. As for accessories, those with the shortest life span, such as toys, come out on top.
“In 2021 – observed Paolo Castegnaro from Trixie Italy – the arrival of new pets in families gave a boost to the accessories market. The current economic situation may lead many pet parents to put off replacing more durable items like collars, harnesses, leashes, scratching posts, beds and carriers, but we believe that 2022 will nonetheless end positively. And we have good reason to be just as optimistic for 2023”.
“The challenges we face are common to all international markets, including the United States and the East, but, in general, there is optimism in the pet industry”, Paola Cane agreed, also confirming the positive trend in the snack category: “At Zoomark 2023, the Pet Vision area will highlight the new international trends, including a focus on snacks in the ‘Aperipet’ area. This is a product category that continues to do very well, thanks to companies making significant investments in R&D”.
New purchasing habits. Pet parents are going phygital
“When it comes to purchasing habits”, Fassa noted, “pet owners are continuing to buy their favourite products, those best for their pets, but they are now looking for the best prices too, and as a result are willing to shop around. Consumers are more attentive to promotions than ever before”.
Castegnaro also focused on this new trend, which is mainly due to reduced purchasing power. It applies above all to travel accessories and leashes: more and more often, these are only being replaced if there are good deals on offer.
According to Paola Cane, “we can no longer think in terms of digital shopper or physical shopper. The current period is all about the ‘phygital experience’: some consumers check the prices of products online and then buy in store, while others look at products in store and then buy online”.
The role of the trade show
Distribution strategies in the pet industry are increasingly characterized by an omnichannel or multichannel approach, as highlighted by Cane and Fassa: “Traditional retail continues to be sound, but to remain competitive it has to renew its efforts to stand out and stay up to date”.
This observation rounded off the first Zoomark webinar, which underlined what a key point of reference the show is for pet shops and professionals alike, helping them navigate the main international trends and giving them an opportunity to interact, keep up with the latest news and ideas, and gear up to take on the opportunities and challenges that the market presents.