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Pets Will Be on Holiday Gift Lists Despite Pandemic and Economic Troubles, APPA Study Finds

Pet owners plan to spend an average of $41 on gifts for their pets this holiday.

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STAMFORD, CT – As the holiday season arrives, pet owners plan to show their companions some extra love, American Pet Products Association. Forty-six percent of pet owners surveyed plan to purchase a holiday gift for their pet this year, regardless of the pandemic or economic state, compared to 47 percent of pet owners who bought gifts for pets in 2019.

“It is clear that people still plan on including their treasured family pets in this holiday gifting season, but what is unexpected is how much they plan to spend on them,” said Steve King, president and CEO of APPA.

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Pet owners plan to spend an average of $41 on gifts for their pets this holiday, APPA reported. Moreover, demographic groups planning to spend $50 or more include pet owners in Gen Z, Millennials, those with young children, and those who live in urban communities.

The findings are from the third volume of the APPA COVID-19 Pulse Study of Pet Ownership During the Pandemic.  The first and second volumes reflect research conducted in May and June of 2020.  Volume 3 reveals research conducted in September and covers many aspects of pet ownership as well as consumer attitudes and trends surrounding holiday spending for 2020.

Eighty-three percent of those surveyed report their pet ownership has not changed due to COVID-19, and it appears spending will hold steady this holiday season.

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While not directly related to pet ownership, a notable shift was respondents’ feeling that the pandemic will continue longer than most anticipated earlier this year.

“Even though we may not get back to a pre-COVID ‘normal’ in the foreseeable future, our pets are helping us get through these challenging times,” King said. “With 74% of owners reporting that pets are helping to reduce stress and increase our sense of well-being, it comes as no surprise that Study respondents overwhelming said they don’t plan on making changes to their approach to routine pet care.”

Aside from the anticipated spend this holiday season, two-thirds of all pet owners say their pet spending has not changed in the past month. Pet owners are able to get the items they want at the outlets where they wish to shop. Over half of pet owners consider themselves to be very brand loyal when shopping for their food, and 72 percent agree their pet’s diet is very important to them so they do not plan to make any changes regardless of their financial circumstances. More than 60 percent of pet owners are shopping for pet care items in brick and mortar stores while the percentage of those shopping at online-only outlets like Amazon and Chewy.com remains consistent at 15 percent.

Volume three of the APPA COVID-19 Pulse Study of Pet Ownership During the Pandemic reveals additional trended insights into consumer attitudes and behaviors, including:

  • Changes to pet ownership
  • General attitudes toward the pandemic, including personal financial impact
  • Current shopping behaviors
  • Outlets visited
  • Pet products purchased
  • Holiday gifting attitudes

APPA is offering the full results of the Studies — Volumes 1, 2 and 3 — free to anyone interested.  The holiday spending data captured in the third volume of APPA COVID-19 Pulse Study of Pet Ownership During the Pandemic is also available. For more information, visit the APPA website or contact marketresearchsupport@americanpetproducts.org.

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