Americans are spending more on pets than ever before

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) releases annual industry-wide spending figures

Americans are spending more on pets than ever before. Source: unsplash.com

According to APPA, 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%. 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. 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
Bob Vetere, President and CEO of the American Pet Products Association

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.

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%. 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.

Category

2017 Actual

2018 Actual

% Growth

2019 Estimate

% Growth

($ Billion)

($ Billion)

(2018 vs 2017)

($ Billion)

(2019 vs 2018)

Food

29.07

30.32

4.3

31.68

4.5

Supplies/ OTC Med

15.11

16.01

6.0

16.44

2.7

Veterinary Care

17.07

18.11

6.1

18.98

4.8

Live Animal Purchases

2.1

2.01

-4.3

1.97

-2.0

Other Services

6.16

6.11

-0.8

6.31

3.3

Total

69.51

72.56

4.4

75.38

3.9

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 live animal purchases category experienced a 4.3% 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.

SEE ALSO: Popular ride-sharing service becomes pet-friendly

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