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US Pet Ownership Reaches 70%, APPA Survey Finds

Biennial research reveals trends on pet ownership, spending, shopping habits, pet acquisition and more.

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STAMFORD, CT – Pet ownership is on the rise, as is pet spending, according to a new survey from the American Pet Products Association.

APPA announced the release of its biennial National Pet Owners Survey. The 2021-22 survey reports pet ownership has increased from an estimated 67 percent of U.S. households that own a pet to an estimated 70 percent. Millennials were also revealed to be the largest cohort of pet owners at 32 percent, followed closely by Boomers at 27 percent and Generation X at 24 percent.

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“For more than 30 years, APPA has been collecting and reporting consumer insight data through our National Pet Owners Survey, and each year we aim to enhance this industry resource,” says APPA President and CEO Steve King. “The newest edition of The Survey is the most comprehensive yet and we look forward to arming our members and the broader pet care community with the information needed to make strategic, informed business decisions that will help advance our already burgeoning industry.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • Pet spending increased during the past year, with 35 percent of pet owners stating they spent more on their pet/pet supplies – including food, wellness-related products and other pet care items – in the last 12 months than in the preceding year.
  • Fourteen percent of total respondents (pet owners and non-pet owners) obtained a new pet during the pandemic. Additionally, at least one in four new pet owners shared their recent pet acquisition – including saltwater fish (60 percent), dogs (47 percent), birds (46 percent), small animals (46 percent), cats (40 percent), freshwater fish (34 percent), reptiles (27 percent) and horses (27 percent) – was influenced by the pandemic.
  • Pet owners shopping online increased by almost 20 percent, from 72 percent in the prior year to 86 percent of responses in this year’s study. Before the pandemic, 60 percent of pet owners usually purchased pet products in person at brick-and-mortar stores. During the pandemic, in-person shopping dropped to 41 percent, aligning more closely with the 46 percent of pet owners who prefer to purchase online with purchases shipped to their home.
  • Fifty-one percent of pet owners are willing to pay more for ethically sourced pet products and eco-friendly pet products.
  • Pet insurance purchases amongst both dog and cat owners have also increased, nearly doubling amongst cat owners in particular.

This year’s survey was expanded to include new content and additional insights on topics like online purchasing behavior, preferred method of purchasing, pet product development and coronavirus-specific questions to understand how pet acquisition was impacted by the pandemic. In addition, the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey contains a lifestyle and media study, which examines what motivates pet ownership and relationships with pets, along with habits such as internet usage, travel, work and other demographic criteria.

Each APPA member receives an exclusive, complimentary copy of the survey, with additional copies available at a discounted rate. The 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey is available for purchase by non-members, providing access to data surrounding key conversations in the pet care community. APPA also offers its interactive Data Portal that allows quick, customized access to data utilizing a crosstab tool. The tool allows users to build their own reports using National Pet Owners Survey data.

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