23 January 2017

RESEARCH - Millennials and Boomers Lead the Pack in Pet Spending

Sales and marketing company Acosta did some research on the growing pet industry, looking not only at pet spending but also consumer behaviour.

“The pet category is an important one, as its total sales surpass popular categories such as dairy and candy,” Colin Stewart, Senior Vice President at Acosta, said in a release.

“Fortunately for brands and retailers, the two largest generations — Baby Boomers and Millennials — also represent the two biggest age groups for pet ownership, which means we can expect continued growth in this category, especially since Millennials are just now entering their prime spending years.”

According to the report, nearly half of pet owners remain loyal to their preferred brand of pet food, regardless of coupons or deals, but they do take advantage of digital tools such as retailer websites or apps to search for sales.

Ninety-four percent of pet owners indicate their pets are part of the family, with 80 percent treating them like children, which makes the report - The Pet Parenting Boom - aptly named.

When it comes to spending for pet owners, the well-being of their animals plays an important role, but so does their own definition of necessities.

Boomers consider toys and treats nonessentials, while Millennials — who are more likely to splurge on pet fashion — label them as necessities.
  • Forty-six percent of pet owners report they purchase products they think will provide a wellness benefit to their pets.
  • Thirty-six percent of pet owners spend more than $500 annually on pet medical expenses and $200 per year on regular grooming.
  • Sixty percent of Millennials purchase nonessential pet items at least once a week, versus 28 percent of Gen Xers and 8 percent of Boomers.
  • Sixty percent of pet owners report celebrating their pets’ birthdays in some fashion, which for more than half of Millennial and 40 percent of Gen X pet owners means giving their animals birthday gifts.

“Pet owners shop for their animals much in the same way they shop for themselves,” added Stewart.

“Retailers can apply key best practices in grocery to the retail pet channel as well, including appealing to Millennials, emphasizing health and wellness, and improving convenience to increase shopper loyalty.”

Nearly 80 million households in the U.S. own a pet, representing 60 percent of the entire population.

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