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When CBD pet products first appeared on the market, brands faced heavy skepticism as they attempted to explain why CBD is useful for pets. Over the last decade, however, pet CBD products have sporadically gained popularity, sometimes boasting massive 1,000% year-over-year gains.
These days, the CBD pet industry is valued at over half a billion dollars, making it one of the largest and fastest-growing CBD product subcategories. As 2023 unfolds, new opportunities and challenges will appear for brands that are active in the pet CBD space.
Leveraging the latest data from Statista, we can identify the subset of consumers that are most likely to buy CBD pet products and also understand what their ideal CBD pet products look like. From there, it’s just a matter of adapting to the times to offer a pet product line that offers maximum value with minimum drawbacks.
In this guide, we’ll examine the incredible growth the CBD pet category has experienced recently, and we’ll help you understand where and how these products are gaining traction. By the end, you’ll know exactly what 2023’s consumers want in hemp products for pets and how to offer it.
Who buys CBD products?
Whenever it’s time to determine how to market a certain type of product, there are a few steps a brand should take. The first step is finding out who already buys that product. In the case of CBD pet products, the answers are easy to find thanks to a March 2021 shopper survey¹ published on Statista.
This survey of more than 1,500 respondents sought to determine where people who buy CBD pet products live. Categories of communities included major cities, suburbs, and small towns.
Even though pet ownership is relatively evenly distributed geographically, the Statista survey found that a disproportionate number of CBD pet product purchasers lived in cities. Due to the confluence of a variety of factors, it appears that urbanites are far more likely to buy CBD pet products than residents of small towns and suburbs.
Pet health as a cosmopolitan concern
These statistical results make sense. City-dwellers are often more affluent and socially plugged in, allowing pricier trends like CBD to catch on more easily.
While rural shoppers might also be open to buying CBD products for their pets, they lack the opportunities for exposure to CBD pet products that urbanites enjoy. One way to counter this trend would be to specifically target rural communities in educational social media campaigns accompanying CBD pet product launches.
There’s also the well-understood fact that people who live in cities are just more likely to closely follow trends. While attempting to widen the market for CBD pet products beyond major cities, it’s also important to avoid alienating your urban residents.
What do pet owners want in CBD products?
Even before CBD became a subject patient felt comfortable discussing with their own physicians, veterinarians had already begun opening up to the potential benefits that CBD treats and oils might be able to offer to cats, dogs, and other pets. It should come as no surprise then, that it’s still common for pet owners to discuss CBD with their vets before giving the cannabinoid to their pets for the first time.
According to the results of another Statista survey² (conducted in cooperation with Brightfield Group), pet owners have a common set of concerns they frequently bring up in the vet’s office. Chief among these concerns appears to be the safety of CBD, which was the most popular topic for pet owners to bring up with their vets when considering the cannabinoid for their pets.
Owners also wanted to know how likely CBD was to help their pets, and they sought clarity from their vets regarding proper CBD dosage for animals. Another hot topic was the different types of CBD products that are available and how well they work for certain types of animals.
CBD is widely represented as safe, but it’s clear that pet owners want to confirm this with their vets before proceeding. One way to help pet owners feel comfortable with your products before they resort to taking them to their vet’s office is providing abundant safety information on the product’s label and online.
When consulting their veterinarians, pet owners want to make sure CBD will work. As long as you don’t overdo it, this is your call to make sure your CBD pet products contain a reasonable, effective dose of CBD. Even for a cat or dog, a dose of less than 5mg CBD might fail to deliver the desired effects.
Even though they ask their veterinarians about this topic commonly, there aren’t many clear answers regarding the proper dosage of CBD for animals. One of the best ways to account for the current lack of hard research regarding effective dosage of CBD in animals is to provide products that are potent but easy to break into smaller portions. An example is a 10mg CBD dog biscuit that features indentations allowing the pet owner to break it into four smaller 2.5mg portions.
There’s no wrong answer when it comes to which CBD product type is best for pets. CBD-infused pet treats and CBD tinctures designed for pets are the most popular options to be sure, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only CBD pet product categories worthy of your consideration.
Some pets might prefer for CBD oil to be added to their food, but others might like CBD treats best. There may be even more pet-favorite CBD product types that simply haven’t been explored properly yet.
Is pet CBD popular?
There’s a reason brands and investors are leaning so heavily into the pet side of the CBD industry. While CBD products designed for humans continue to gain impressive popularity year-over-year, pet CBD has exhibited the greatest breakthrough success in recent years, sometimes boasting nearly unbelievable gains.
According to a Statista survey³ published in November 2022, for instance, sales of pet CBD products in the United States grew tenfold between 2018 and 2019. What began as a market only worth a few million dollars in 2017 was estimated to appreciate to over $500 million in 2021, which is a remarkable rate of growth even for the CBD industry.
10x year-over-year category growth
How was it possible for CBD pet products to display such rapid, voluminous growth? The ten-times increase that CBD pet products displayed between 2018 and 2019 might be partially attributed to the breakout success that sometimes occurs when a previously unknown product type enters the mainstream.
CBD pet products haven’t displayed such prodigious year-over-year growth again, but the category continues to outpace many other types of CBD products, indicating that the CBD pet market is far from tapped.
$560 million in 2021
At just over half a billion dollars, it’s not as if CBD pet products contribute massively to the overall CBD economy. Still, that’s not a figure brands should ignore if they’re seeking ways to diversify and reach a wider subset of shoppers. As the CBD industry grows, CBD pet products will grow along with it.
Guide to selling pet CBD in 2023
Now that you’re aware of the potential waiting to be fulfilled within the CBD pet industry, let’s shift to some practical tips you can use to formulate winning pet CBD products in 2023 and beyond. Below, we’ll list out six specific steps you can take to optimize or launch your line of CBD pet products:
1. Focus on urban priorities
It’s a bald fact that half of CBD pet product purchasers live in big cities. While it would be a mistake to generalize too broadly, it’s common sense that urbanites tend to be more experimentative with new health and wellness trends.
Right now, people everywhere are rightly concerned about the toxins present in the food they eat and the supplements they take. Given that pets are often considered to be just as important as people in today’s city societies, it’s natural that informed urbanites want the products they give their cats and dogs to be just as safe and pure as the products they themselves consume.
If your pet products still contain any ingredients that previously passed muster because they were intended for the animal instead of human consumption, now is a great time to observe the priorities of your target audience and adapt your products accordingly. Urban pet CBD shoppers aren’t afraid to pay a little bit more for products they’re sure are safe.
2. Showcase safety
You can relate to shoppers that your products are safe in a variety of ways, starting with clear and effective labeling. Stick with an easy-to-read theme, and use small icons and symbols that shoppers already associate with desired attributes like “organic” and “non-GMO.”
Today’s educated urban consumers want to be able to research products they’re considering buying on the internet. Make sure the online information accompanying your product is thorough, professional, and easy to find.
Lab reports can help relate to shoppers that your products are potent and toxin-free, but some of the most-educated CBD consumers now know enough to ask where the CBD extract in their products came from as well. That’s when it can be useful to be able to tell extra-inquisitive customers that you sourced your CBD from a professional, certified lab.
3. Respect the importance of dosage
Recent statistical data show that pet CBD shoppers are concerned with giving the right dose of CBD to their cats and dogs. As it is in humans, CBD appears to be quite safe in other mammals, but still, it can’t be helped that shoppers want to know exactly how much CBD they’re giving their pets.
They also want to be sure the amount of CBD they’re giving their pets isn’t harmful, which is where gentle education regarding the interspecies safety of CBD as a compound can come in. It’s important to accommodate this trend primarily, however, by making it easy for pet owners to use your products to give their pets exact doses of CBD.
4. Differentiate within a growing category
Over the last few years, pet CBD underwent the massive, ballooning growth that has occurred at one time or another in every other CBD product subcategory. Now that the market is approaching saturation, however, it’s important to anticipate a more-competitive future environment in which proper diversification will be necessary to ensure that your CBD pet products stand out.
Simply focusing on organic purity, for instance, can be enough to make your product noticeable to shoppers — and in a genuine way that imparts real value.
5. Demand professional formulation
Achieving optimum quality with CBD products isn’t easy. Hemp extract is inherently a tricky substance to work with, and shoppers increasingly demand higher and higher standards of safety and purity.
If you attempt to make CBD pet products in your own facilities, you won’t be able to compete with larger operators that have the resources to invest in better equipment and advanced processes. Since purchasing CBD from a bulk producer is often less expensive than making it yourself, the choice here is clear.
There’s a massive disparity even between large-scale CBD producers, though. Make sure to choose a producer that proactively seeks out all available certifications and properly prioritizes transparency.
6. Anticipate massive growth
Lastly, don’t forget that pet CBD remains one of the fastest-growing CBD subcategories, and it will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. There are still plenty of pet owners who would buy CBD if they were educated on its benefits and came across the right product.
When formulating your CBD pet line, focus on the universal appeal that’s necessary to allow a product to become popular. Even though it’s taking hold in the cities first, pet CBD is gradually becoming mainstream. The products that survive the test of time will be those that seamlessly blend the priorities of urbanites with the universally accessible benefits that will be demanded of the future’s pet CBD.
Summary: Cannabinoid pet products in 2023
While 2019 may have been the year that pet CBD broke through to the surface, 2023 could prove to be the year that the CBD pet product phenomenon becomes fully mainstream. Purchases of pet CBD products may be slanted toward cities for now, but people everywhere are talking about CBD with their vets, and the pet CBD submarket gets closer to an inevitable $1 billion valuation every day.
To make sure your pet CBD products are successful in 2023 and the years beyond, position yourself as an assistant in the ambassadorship urbanites always display toward rural residents. Trends that start in the cities inevitably make their way into the countryside, so it’s only a matter of time before rural owners start giving their pets CBD in greater numbers.
Even though organic product purity isn’t as much of a concern for rural shoppers, they’ll accept the same products that have been presented to urbanites due to the naturally downstream position of rural culture from city culture. Wherever they live, what everyone appreciates is clear, informative product labeling. If rural shoppers are provided with everything they need to know about CBD pet products, they won’t be so concerned if the subtler attributes of a particular product differ from their exact preferences.
It’s a scientific fact that nearly all animals have endocannabinoid systems, meaning they’re biochemically compatible with the benefits cannabinoids like CBD have to offer. Never forget as well that the endocannabinoid system encompasses much more than just CBD — not even hardly explored yet is the wide world of potential lying in wait for CBN, CBG, and CBDV pet products.
- 1. Statista. (2021, October 19). Breakdown of U.S. pet owners who used pet CBD products in 2021, by residential area. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1242559/pet-cbd-usage-by-residential-area-us/
- 2. Statista. (2021b, October 19). Topics pet CBD users discuss with vets in the United States in 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1242561/pet-cbd-topics-spoken-about-with-vets-us/
- 3. Statista. (2022d, November 16). CBD pet product market size in the U.S. 2017-2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1111883/cbd-pet-product-dollar-sales-us/