According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), spending on pets increased by 4% in 2016 for a total of $66.75 billion spent while pet ownership increased by 3% since 2014.
These figures, announced at Global Pet Expo in Orlando last month, indicate that the pet industry continues to experience overall growth. A closer look at the sources of this data, APPA’s 2017–2018 National Pet Owners Survey and its Spending Report, paints a slightly more complex — but positive — picture. Much of the growth in pet ownership is attributed to dogs and cats; ownership of other companion animals — like fish, birds, reptiles, and horses — remained consistent with that observed in previous years.
Pet food sales accounted for more than 40% of all pet spending in the United States. Curiously, dog owners reported spending less on food over the past two years while cat owners spent approximately 16% more than they did in the previous period. Other spending categories that contributed to the growth seen in 2016 include veterinary, grooming, training, and pet-sitting services.
While the overall growth of the market can be attributed to many small, individual factors, one of the larger, more impactful trends over the past several years has been the increase in products catering to the “humanization” of pets. Humanization, the tendency for owners to want to give their pets human-quality products and services, has driven an increasing number of pet product makers to develop higher quality offerings, often at higher prices. These products have been met positively by a wide range of pet owners, but they have found particular favor among Millennials.
“Now that millennials have officially taken the reins as the primary demographic of pet owners, they stand to further develop the humanization of pets trend.”
— Bob Vetere, President & CEO, the American Pet Products Association