Baby Boomers and Millennials are Redefining Modern Pet Ownership Trends, reports Packaged Facts
For many marketers Millennial pet owners are the object of special attention, but Packaged Facts' research suggests that substantial opportunities among pet owners in the 55-and-over age group are hiding in plain sight
"Millennial pet owners, those in the 25 to 39-year-old age group, are the object of special attention. The 37 million Millennials who own pets constitute 27% of all pet owners," says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. "Millennials are an especially important consumer group for segments of the pet industry marketing products and services to owners of pets other than dogs or cats. Millennials make up one in three owners of pets such as fish, birds, rabbits, gerbils, and hamsters."
Another reason why Millennial pet owners constitute a key pet market consumer segment is that compared to pet owners in older age groups, 25 to 39-year-old pet owners are more likely to have younger pets that they have acquired recently. The combination of younger, recently acquired dogs or cats leads younger owners to have an immediate need for and a higher propensity to purchase pet products of all kinds.
However, Packaged Facts' research suggests that substantial opportunities among pet owners in the 55-and-over age group are hiding in plain sight. Over the past decade the 55 to 74-year-old age group (Baby Boomers) is the only segment to have experienced an increase in the pet ownership rate. Between 2008 and 2018 the percent of Boomers owning a pet grew from 50% to 54%. At the same time, the pet ownership rate among 18 to 39-year-olds declined from 63% to 61% and the percent of 40 to 54-year-olds owning pets remained the same (64% vs. 64%). Although pet ownership historically has dropped significantly as adults turn 70, it is especially noteworthy that during the past decade the percent of 70 to 74-year-olds with pets increased from 41% to 45%.
"As a result of the outsize significance of the Boomer cohort and growing tendency of American adults to maintain a bond with pets as they age, Boomers and Seniors accounted for the vast majority of the growth in the population of pet owners over the past decade," says Sprinkle.
Between 2008 and 2018 the number of pet owners in the 55-and-over age group grew by 11.6 million, while pet owners under the age of 40 increased by only 4.1 million and the population of pet owners in the 40 to 54-year-old age group declined by 2.9 million.
Over the past decade those in the 55-and-over age group became a larger proportion of pet owners across all pet types. The percent of dog owners in this age group increased from 27% to 32%. The proportion of cat owners who are 55 and over grew from 27% to 33% and owners of all other pets in this age segment increased from 16% to 24% of the total.
Dog owners in the Boomer generation have been particularly likely to hang on to canine companionship as they have aged. The percent of those in this age segment owning dogs increased from 34% to 38%. Compared to their predecessors in the 55 to 74-year-old age group a decade ago, all age segments of the Boomer generation demonstrate a higher propensity to own dogs. Even those in their early 70s are now more likely to own dogs (31% vs. 27%).
It is telling that Boomers continue to acquire puppies as they age. Packaged Facts estimates that 1.4 million 55 to 74-year-olds own puppies and other dogs less than one year old. An additional 5.2 million Boomers have dogs between one and three years old.
These pet ownership trends translate into consumer spending patterns. Households headed by Boomers account for 33% of all households and 40% of aggregate expenditures on pets ($34.4 billion). Together, Boomers and their older counterparts in their mid-70s and over account for 47% of aggregate expenditures on pets.
About the Report
Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S: Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets, 3rd Edition (published 10/2019, 225 pages) is available for $3,995 from Packaged Facts.
The report analyzes trends in the size and characteristics of the pet population and provides projections of the size of the population of dogs and cats. It includes an analysis of changes in pet ownership over the past decade and a demographic profile of the population of pet owners as well as highlights of the consumer behavior and attitudes of pet owners. The report contains separate chapters on Hispanic pet owners and Gen Z and Millennial pet owners.
Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, and pet products and services. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. Reports can be purchased at our company website and are also available through MarketResearch.com.
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