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Pet Industry Spending Exceeds $66B — 3 Takeaways

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It’s a 10.7 percent increase.

Pet industry spending for 2016 came in at $66.75 billion, up from $60.28 billion in 2015, according to a new report.

The 10.7 percent increase means spending reached a record high, according to the American Pet Products Association, which released the figures at the recent Global Pet Expo.

The report covers pet spending in the market categories of food, supplies/over-the-counter medications, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other services.

Here’s a chart from APPA:PETS SpendingChart

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And here are three takeaways from the report:

1. It’s not quite as good as it sounds. “While this shows a significant increase over last year, it is more reflective of an adjustment in data reporting than actual growth,” said Bob Vetere, CEO of the APPA. “Actual growth when compared to previous reporting methods is closer to 4 percent.” The increase in pet food spending of 22.6 percent in 2016 is primarily due to APPA accounting for new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which indicated that previous spending figures released may have been too conservative. With $28.23 billion spent, the increase in this category now accurately reflects the steady growth the pet food industry has experienced all along, according to an APPA press release. Interest in high-end, premium pet food and treats continues to be a key driver for increased spending in the pet food category.

2. Health is huge. Veterinary care spending remains the second source of spending in the pet industry at $15.95 billion. While routine veterinary visits have not necessarily increased, new advances in health care and services available may be contributing to the 3.4 percent growth. Additionally, there is growing research on the human health benefits of pets and research from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute shows that the more pet owners become aware of the health benefits of their pets, the more likely they are to take care of them.

3. There’s major growth in “other.” Other services such as grooming, boarding, walking, training, pet sitting, yard services and more saw significant growth from 2015, second only to pet food category growth. While spending on pet services is behind the next closest spending segment by nearly $9 billion, category growth for the past few years is something to take note of, according to the release. It is estimated to grow another 6 percent in 2017, higher than expected growth percentage for any other spending segment.

“Now that millennials have officially taken the reins as primary demographic of pet owners, they stand to further develop the humanization of pets trend,” Vetere said. “We’ve been anxious to see how this new group of pet owners will affect the industry, and now that they’re here and the industry spending is higher than ever, it’s a promising sign that our country’s pets are in good hands.”

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