In just a few months, the financial crisis has spread like wildfire and now encompasses large parts of the globe. Even those countries spoilt by success - like Russia, where the economic trend has been exclusively upwards in recent years - are currently complaining of a downturn in the market. Will the crisis in the world financial markets have a negative impact on the business trend in the pet supplies sector too? With firms being forced to close, unemployment figures rising and consumer spending power declining drastically, the signs aren't good for the sector. Still, it is also true that in times of crisis, consumers tend to refrain from making large purchases such as cars or expensive electrical appliances rather than cutting down on day-to-day items, including pet products. To this extent the pet supplies sector will experience a milder, delayed economic downswing. The trend in the last few years also indicates that in difficult economic times, many people attach greater importance to their home. Small pleasures become fashionable again, as one speciality chain put it in a Christmas letter to its customers. Consumers rein in spending on new cars and holidays and spend more on their house, garden and pets. A lot will depend on how the pet supplies sector faces up to the challenge of the financial crisis. Instead of allowing itself to become infected by the downbeat mood that prevails in many places, it should continue to display optimism and exude confidence vis-à-vis its customers. It is to be hoped that the innovative reserves of manufacturing companies will not dry up, even in these more difficult economic conditions. The trade fairs coming up this year, above all the Global Pet Expo in Orlando and Zoomark International in Bologna, must send out positive signals. Only a sector that is enthusiastic about itself and its activities can fire others with enthusiasm. And so, even if the economic trend should deteriorate further - continue to think positively! Sooner or later the market will be on the up again.
Yours Ralf Majer-Abele
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