The pandemic brought some basic changes to our economy. A 3,000 U.K. firm Decision Maker Panel confirms that we can expect to spend less time in the office:
This shift will affect our dogs.
Bringing the total up to 12.5 million, in the U.K., during the pandemic, we purchased an estimated 3.5 million dogs. At the same time, in the U.S., the number of dog owners soared to a whopping 108 million (up from 99 million).
You can see why the market research firm, IBIS, projected that the U.S. market for dog walking services will grow this year by 5.5 percent, a leap from its 1.8 percent prior growth rate. Similarly, compared to other U.S. industries, dog walking is growing faster. Saying her business is surging, one dog walker explained that people working at home want her to give their dogs the extra attention they need. They also booked her for the holidays they have begun to plan.
Furthermore, working at home, we seem to be feeding more to our pets. According to the NY Times and anecdotal evidence, pet hospitals report more pet obesity. At home, we are giving our pets more snacks. And so, they need more activity–from dog walkers.
Our Bottom Line: Working at Home
Shown by xkcd, working at home has temporarily and maybe permanently changed what we buy:
Resulting in more bread making , more dog walking, and so many other changes, the increase in home work time is a structural change in the economy. Defined more broadly as the replacement of old industries by new ones, structural change requires new skills from workers, new capital, and new products. Our best example is the replacement of typewriters by computers, and of horse and buggy factories by the Model T. Also though, I can remember pre-9/11 airport design when there was no security perimeter to prevent gate and shops access. Post 9/11, the structural upheaval was considerable.
I know that I am giving structural change a rather broad definition. And my dog walking statistics are surely not precise. However, we can reasonably predict that where we work has undergone fundamental change. Rippling through other markets, its impact has just begun.
My sources and more: Thanks to the BBC for their look at working at home and dog walkers. From there, I uncovered a wealth of research at IBIS and then, for structural change, at Voxeu. And finally, for more, do take a look at dog walking economics in a past post.