People don’t just like their pets, they love them. The American pet market reached $66.75 billion in 2016 and shows no sign of slowing down. Research consistently shows people consider their pets part of the family, and often will spend more on their pets than they do on themselves. Countless industry stories bear this out. For example, the late actor Dick Van Patten—a fixture in Hollywood for decades—said no acting gig paid as well as his dog food company did. Controversial dog trainer Cesar Milan has gained global celebrity recognition equivalent to an A-list actor. And recently one innovative company has introduced a red carpet ‘lounge’ for pets waiting for airline flights, even horses.
The American toy industry is worth more than $22 billion annually, and virtually every sub-segment is ripe for IoT innovation. The demand for smart toys is there, thanks to a combination of tech savvy households, Hollywood creations, youth consumer trends, and the prevalence of smart appliances and devices (Amazon Echo). The current generation of children is accustomed to—and expects—‘intelligent’ playthings. This shift in expectations has caused a steep decline in some traditional toys (such as model trains), and forced others (such as dolls) to adapt. The good news is this paradigm shift isn’t simply tech for tech’s sake—smart toys offer significant benefits beyond being, well, toys. And that can enhance your bottom line.