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Americans Are Spending More on Pets Than Ever Before: $72 Billion

Americans Are Spending More on Pets Than Ever Before: $72 Billion
Pet care spending in 2018 reached a record-breaking high of $72.56 billion
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Orlando, Florida — Bob Vetere, President and CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), announced today new annual industry-wide spending figures, exceeding last year’s spending by more than $3 billion. The announcement came during Global Pet Expo, the largest annual pet products trade show presented by APPA and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA). Pet care spending in 2018 reached a record-breaking high of $72.56 billion compared to $69.51 billion in 2017, an increase of over 4 percent. APPA’s annual industry figures cover pet spending in the market categories of food, supplies/over-the-counter (OTC) medications, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other services.

“Millennials continue to be the largest pet-owning demographic and this shows in the data,” said Vetere. “We know this generation is willing to pay more for quality products and services to improve the health and well-being of their pets. Today more than ever, pet owners view their pets as irreplaceable members of their families and lives, and it’s thanks to this that we continue to see such incredible growth within the pet care community.”

Pet Industry Spending Breakdown:

pet spending chart

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) Releases Annual Industry-Wide Spending Figures

 

Spending on pet food continues to make up the majority of dollars spent in the industry, with premium dog food accounting for the most frequent type of food purchased, followed by generic and natural food. Rather than a higher volume of food being sold, the ongoing growth in this category likely stems from rising prices and sales of higher-priced foods made with quality ingredients. An interest in natural, locally-sourced treats and chews has never been higher across U.S. pet owners.

“In the coming year, we anticipate steady growth in the pet food category thanks to opportunities that reside in specialized diets, targeting the aging pet population and pets with unique dietary needs,” said Vetere. “The availability of fresh food options and subscription delivery programs is also expected to increase spending in this category.”

Coming in at $18.11 billion, veterinary care remains the second highest source of spending in the pet care community, surpassing growth in any other category at a rate of 6.1 percent. The frequency of vet visits has likely increased as well thanks to lower prices, making care more accessible to a broader audience. As a result, the trend of pet insurance is projected to increase with pets living longer and requiring more complex and extended medical care.

“Scientific research from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) shows that the bond formed between people and their pets yields valid health benefits to both pets and their owners,” said Vetere. “It’s a partnership; if you take care of your pets’ health, they’re going to take care of yours.”

Following veterinary care, spending on supplies and OTC medications holds the spot for the third highest source of pet spending. Up 6 percent from 2017, $16.01 billion was spent on items such as beds, collars, leashes, toys, travel items, clothing, food and water bowls, pet tech products, and other accessories. The use of pet meds and supplements to ensure longer, healthier lives for pets continues to increase. In addition, pet owners are more likely to use digital devices and technology compared to non-pet owners, which explains the rise in popularity of pet technology products.

Pet services outside of healthcare including services such as grooming, boarding, walking, training, pet sitting and yard services saw a slight decrease, dropping 0.8 percent. Increased competition in this category has driven providers to lower prices and offer deals.

The live animal purchases category experienced a 4.3 percent decline compared to the year before. Contributing $2.01 billion in 2018, this category makes up the smallest area of total pet industry spend. Acquisition of dogs varies by generation with more millennials turning to shelters and rescues, while baby boomers and Gen Xers look more to breeders. However, millennials purchase pets at an independent pet store three times more often than Boomers or Gen Xers.

“People across generations are keeping their pets longer, thus reducing the acquisition of new pets,” said Vetere. “However, with spending on our pets higher than ever before, it’s clear that giving pets the best lives possible is still a top priority for pet owners, and they’re willing to spend more on the quality products and services they consume if it means more quality time with their beloved companions.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Read more about Puppy and Kitten Nutrition

Learn about Nutrition for the Large-Breed Puppy

Read about dietary supplements

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The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958. APPA membership includes more than 1,200 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises. APPA’s mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. APPA is also proud to grow and support the industry through the following initiatives: Pets Add Life (PAL), the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) Pets for Vets program, Bark at the Park, The Pet Leadership Council (PLC), the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), Bird Enjoyment and Advantage Koalition (BEAK), and the Pet Care Trust. Visit www.americanpetproducts.org for more information.

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