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10 Highly Revealing Facts About the US Pet Industry

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The pet parenting boom shows no signs of stopping.

Americans love their pets — but you already knew that.

A recent report from Acosta, a sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, provides some data on just how big the “pet parenting boom” is, both economically and culturally.

Nearly 80 million households in the U.S. own a pet, representing 60 percent of the entire population, the report explains. All in all, pets make up a nearly $30 billion business.

“The pet category is an important one, as its total sales surpass popular categories such as dairy and candy,” said Colin Stewart, senior vice president at Acosta. “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.”

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Here are 10 important things to know about pets and their owners in the U.S.:

  • 94 percent of pet owners indicate their pets are part of the family, with 80 percent treating them like children.
  • 42 percent of pet owners allow their animals to sleep in their beds.
  • 94 percent of baby boomers talk to their pets daily, versus 64 percent of Gen Xers and only 47 percent of millennials.
  • 67 percent of millennials take photos of their pets regularly, and 63 percent upload the photos to social media.
  • 50 percent of pet owners include their pets in family holiday cards.
  • 46 percent of pet owners report they purchase products they think will provide a wellness benefit to their pets.
  • 36 percent of pet owners spend more than $500 annually on pet medical expenses and $200 per year on regular grooming.
  • 60 percent of millennials purchase nonessential pet items at least once a week, versus 28 percent of Gen Xers and 8 percent of Boomers.
  • 60 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.
  • The top three drivers for pet owners’ retailer selection included price, variety of products and convenience.

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

Read the full report

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State Bill Would Ban Pet Leasing

A few other states already have similar laws.

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A proposed law in Connecticut would ban the practice of pet leasing.

The legislation seeks to outlaw leases in which the new pet owners accept high interest rates and believe they are agreeing to a payment plan, the Connecticut Post reports.

Such agreements open the possibility of the pet being repossessed at a later date, according to the publication.

The state Senate approved the ban last week. The proposed legislation will now be considered in the state House.

Bob Duff, a Democrat serving as Senate majority leader, said: “As a pet owner myself, I could never imagine leasing a pet and then after six or nine months or whatever it is, giving it back. They might actually think they own the pet instead of leasing the pet.”

According to the Post, pet leasing has already been banned in Nevada, California and New York.

The Connecticut proposal would still allow for certain types of pet leases, including “those for breeding purebred dogs, renting show animals or obtaining guide or law enforcement dogs,” according to the Post.

Find out more at the Connecticut Post 

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Chewy to Open $55M Facility, Creating 1,200 Jobs

It’s planning a fulfillment center.

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Chewy, an online pet supply retailer, has selected Rowan County, NC, for its new fulfillment center, with plans to create 1,200 new jobs and invest $55 million.

“Chewy selected North Carolina because from our infrastructure to our workforce, we have everything businesses need to succeed,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “These new jobs will make a positive impact on Rowan County and the surrounding area.”

The e-commerce company will locate in Salisbury, NC.

Chewy is dually headquartered in Dania Beach, FL, and Boston, MA. It has customer service centers in Dallas, TX, and Hollywood, FL, and eight fulfillment centers around the country.

“We’re excited to expand Chewy’s fulfillment operations to North Carolina, our first in the state and ninth in the country,” said Pete Krilles, vice president, corporate real estate and facilities, for Chewy. “We greatly appreciate the partnership with the City of Salisbury, Rowan County, the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission, North Carolina Department of Commerce, and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“We look forward to making a positive economic contribution to the region with the creation of 1,200 new jobs. In addition to job creation, our new fulfillment center will enhance our delivery network across the southeastern United States, allowing us to better service Chewy customers with even faster delivery times.”

“Companies like Chewy will find success in North Carolina because we have a strong workforce and desirable business climate,” said Secretary of Commerce Anthony M. Copeland. “Pair that with our location and quality of life and you’ve got a winning formula.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of NC were instrumental in supporting the company’s expansion decision.

A performance-based grant of $166,650 from the One North Carolina Fund will support the creation of 150 of the new jobs, facilitating Chewy’s establishment of the facility in North Carolina. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

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Pet Store Chain Files for Bankruptcy

Its owner died in January.

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Petland Discounts, a chain that operated in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The action follows the January death of the company’s owner, Neil Padron.

The company has closed its stores.

Notices with each of the three states’ labor departments indicated that more than 300 jobs could be lost across 70 store locations.

The bankruptcy petition was filed in New York Eastern Bankruptcy Court.

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Padron started the business in 1965. He died of bladder cancer on Jan. 14.

Details of the bankruptcy case are available here.

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