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Horse owners keep on spending, says BETA survey

January 14, 2010

Horse owners have continued to spend money on their horses and themselves throughout the recession, reveals new research from the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA).

BETA also discovered that the vast majority of horse-related consumers favoured dealing with specialist equestrian retailers over ebay or supermarkets.

During the last 12 months, more than 90 per cent of owners have purchased feed (97 per cent) and bedding (91 per cent).

Spending on non-essentials has also remained buoyant with 91 per cent of owners splashing out on supplements, 91 per cent buying horse clothing and equipment and 95 per cent investing in rider clothing.

Tack is another popular purchase, with 83 per cent of owners having bought some in the last 12 months. There has also been great interest in buying saddles, with almost half (47 per cent) of owners treating themselves.

Sixty-two per cent sourced saddles through specialist saddlers followed by general equestrian retailers (16 per cent). Private sales amount to 12 per cent, with just 7 per cent buying on online trading site ebay.

Likewise, most tack purchases were made via equestrian retailers, with online shops taking 17 per cent of consumers' business and trade stands at shows enjoying 10 per cent.

Online shops come into their own with shoppers of rider clothing, with a quarter (24 per cent) choosing these outlets, but almost half of all transactions (49 per cent) are made with traditional equestrian retailers. Supermarkets account for just 1 per cent of spend on rider clothing.

Most feed (74 per cent) and bedding (58 per cent) is acquired from country stores and agricultural merchants, with the 23 per cent of private sales of bedding almost certainly for off-the-farm straw.

Supplements are more likely than feed to be bought from equestrian retailers (34 per cent), although 44 per cent of sales remain with feed merchants. Buyers of supplements also favour online shops which account for one fifth (20 per cent) of purchases.

Internet sales - online shops and ebay combined - reach a peak at 47 per cent when it comes to buying horse clothing and equipment - although most consumers still sourced these goods from equestrian retailers (47 per cent).

The research showed that consumers still found it invaluable to shop with specialist retailers when seeking specific equestrian equipment, said Claire Williams, executive director of BETA.

"That owners are still spending so enthusiastically also underlines that keeping a horse is a lifestyle choice for which some consumers are prepared to sacrifice other luxuries."

This latest measure of equestrian consumers' spending habits is drawn from BETA's Equestrian Consumer Research Panel.

Respondents typically ride at least four days a week, own one or more horses, are female and aged between 25 and 55.



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