NEW YORK — The Original BARK Company (BARK), formerly known as BarkBox before being acquired by Northern Star Acquisition Corp. in June, has conducted a survey of dog owners to shed light on pandemic-era trends fueling pet market growth.
The survey largely pointed to the stronger-than-ever relationships dog owners formed with their canine companions throughout the stay-at-home orders and work-from-home periods of COVID-19 — which are still ongoing for some pet owners — and how those bonds are expected to make the return to “normal” even harder.
“The past year and a half of people working from home with their dogs has only made their relationship stronger, and as offices reopen, there’s a completely understandable precedent that our dogs remain happy whether they stay at home or join their humans at work,” said Henrik Werdelin, co-founder of BARK.
According to the BARK survey, 70% of dog owners said their relationships with their dogs grew stronger due to the pandemic, which significantly outpaced stronger relationships reported with other members of the household over the same period. Just under 50% said their relationships with their spouses grew stronger, 39% admitted the same for relationships with their kids, 31% among friends and 28% among parents.
Additionally, 71% of dog owners who are still working from home said they expect to miss their dog in the “return to normal,” again outpacing that same sentiment among spouses (42%) and children (39%).
Earlier this year, Nestlé Purina PetCare argued the potential benefits of pets in the workplace. According to a survey conducted by Purina, 47% of pet owners currently working from home said they believe workplace morale would be improved if the employer allowed pets at the office, and 72% of C-suite executives agree that pets in the office are likely to lead to higher workplace socialization in general. Another 56% of C-suite executives said it can or has already led to increased productivity.
According to BARK’s survey, 32% of dog owners said they believe they would be less stressed and generally happier at work if their dog was allowed with them in the workplace, and 20% said they would be more productive with their companion at work.
“At BARK, we welcome all dogs as long as they’re comfortable, and we have designed our office spaces to accommodate them,” Werdelin said. “We encourage companies who are transitioning employees back to the office to consider welcoming dogs as well — everybody wins.”
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