Has the reptile hobby gone mainstream?
Has the reptile hobby gone mainstream? That is an interesting question. As the editor of ReptilesMagazine.com, when people ask me at social functions what I do for a living, some are surprised that I write about reptiles, while others start asking me questions. One guy I met was a reptile enthusiast and we started talking about places to go herping in Southern California, where I live. Another asked if a UV light was required for a leopard gecko.
I got my first reptile when I was about 10 years old, back when you could order a “chameleon” from the back of a magazine. That chameleon was actually a green anole, but it was marketed as a chameleon because it could "change colors."
Today, it seems that the reptile hobby is more popular than ever in the sense that a report, titled "Reptile Products: U.S. Pet Market Trends and Opportunities" and published by the market research firm, Packaged Facts, states that $383 million in pet reptile products were sold in the United States in 2016. Now that is a lot of enclosures, heat pads, substrate, hides, lighting systems, food, and other products that help to make your pet reptiles comfortable.
"Growth in the mass merchandiser and internet channels has helped improve overall sales, as have stronger sales in the food segment," David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts said in a press release announcing the sales, which was up 2 percent from 2015. "Interestingly, we also see the pet parenting trend extending beyond furry companions to include reptiles. Reptile owners give their pets just as much love as dog and cat owners give theirs. What do these reptile owners want? The same things other pet owners want, namely safe and convenient items that make their pets easier to feed and care for."
Packaged Facts says the reptile products market will grow steadily for the next several years, while the top two segments of the market, food and treats and enclosure heating and lighting, will sustain the growth of reptile products. One notable trend regarding food and treats in the reptile market was specialized diets that cater to specific species and their lifestyle stages. They found that purveyors of reptile foods are calling out species in their packaging to better sell the food items. The marketers are also packaging their food products to differentiate what foods are right for the lifestyle stages of different reptiles and amphibians, according to the report.
An abstract of the report can be read on the Packaged Facts website. You can also purchase the report on the site as well for $1,000 single user. A site license of 10 users is $1,500, while a corporate license is $2,000.