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As Pet Pampering Grows, Licensing Goes to the Dogs

By Marcy Magiera

For evidence of Americans’ preoccupation with their pets, look no further than Super Bowl Sunday, when Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XII (in VR, no less) and Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl III will fill the hours leading up to the main gridiron event. Or the fact that a Petco survey during the fourth quarter showed that 82% of respondents intended to purchase holiday gifts for their pets. This animal adoration boosted U.S. sales of pet products by 4.4% in 2015, to an estimated $60.6 billion, according to the American Pet Products Association. Sales of supplies and over-the-counter medicines, a $14.4 billion category that includes beds, toys and accessories, led the growth, at 4.7%.

TLL estimates place sales of licensed pet products at $402 million in 2014, and the category is expected to grow for 2015.

The emerging trend of pet “parenting” has bolstered demand for premium pet products and services, research firm IBISWorld reports. It has also led to increased demand for specialty products, including toys and other products licensed from fashion, entertainment and celebrity properties, as pet parents seek to share their favorite brands with their pets.

Large chains PetSmart and Petco—which dominate the U.S. pet store channel with a combined market share of more than 60%, according to IBISWorld—tend to pursue exclusive licenses, as demonstrated by Petco’s exclusive Star Wars Pet Fans Collections.

Pet Products Chains Snap Up Exclusive Licenses


  • Star Wars
  • Harajuku Lovers by Gwen Stefani
  • Dr. Seuss Pet Fans Collection


  • Toys ‘R’ Us
  • Brett Michaels Pets Rock
  • Martha Stewart Pets
  • National Geographic

Nevertheless, there are several high-profile licensed properties headed to the pet aisle of a wide range of retailers.

  • Among the licensees for Warner Bros.’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is Fetch for Cool Pets, whose Web site shows Batman and Superman balls, as well as a variety of DC Comics aquarium décor. Fetch’s other licenses include Hello Kitty and Marvel Comics.
  • Ellen DeGeneres will extend her ED brand to pet accessories this year through a partnership with Posh Paws. The line, to be introduce at Global Pet Expo in March, will include pet beds, toys, carriers, leads, collars, feeding bowls, sweaters and coats.

Finally, she may not be as warm and cuddly as Ellen, but Lady Gaga also has announced plans (but no details) for a line of dog products including organic food, accessories and, of course, fashion.


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