The £5 per person gift rule may still hold true in offices across the UK this Christmas, but pets are getting spoilt by their owners, according to research collected by The Insurance Emporium. They reckon that over 70% of UK pet owners plan to buy presents for their animals and 11% of them are likely to spend £40 or more, which includes 8% who are planning to spend more than £60.
On average, cat owners plan to spend a total of £43.85 on their pet this Christmas, whereas dog owners plan to spend a total averaging £55.60, adds the Insurance Emporium.
Pet insurance is one of the growth sectors in the UK, with new players like Bought By Many entering the sector earlier in 2017. Meanwhile Legal & General expanded its presence in the niche by purchasing Buddies in October 2017. The Association of British Insurers estimates that there are about 57 million pets in Britain, but it is thought that about half of all owners have no pet insurance cover at all.
Market analyst firm Mintel estimates that pet premiums in the UK will be worth around £1.6 billion by 2021. The Financial Times estimates that there about 80 brands competing in the pet insurance sector, up about 15 percent over the last ten years.
What are the factors driving the pet insurance growth? The number of single person households is increasing in the UK, plus a declining birth rate frees up more disposable income for younger parents and childless couples. People are also living longer and many pets offer good company later in life.
The other driver is the rapid increase in the cost of treatment by vets. Animal medicine has advanced greatly, but MRI scans, operations and treatment for common conditions particular to one breed of dog or cat, all comes at a price. According to the British Veterinary Association about 60 percent of vets estimate that obesity is the biggest threat to animal health in the UK – owners are indulging their pets a bit too much, and not just at Christmas.