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The State of the Pet Industry

In 2008, 62% of all U.S. households owned a pet.

In 1988, 56% of all U.S. households owned a pet.

Overwhelmingly, of all the households with pets 44.8 million of those homes have a dog in the home.

Totaling 74.8 million dogs total in the U.S.

*Ownership statistics were gathered from the American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey

Spending On Your Dog

Pet Industry Spending: 2008 - $43.4 billion

Pet Industry Spending: 2003 - $32.4 billion

Growth % in Pet Industry Spending: 33% increase

Dog owners spend 30% to 40% higher on their pet than cat owners.

According to the APPA 2008 trend report, the following products topped the trend in 2008 [2].

  • Big name brands for pets, such as Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, and Harley Davidson

  • Hotels that not only accept pets, but pamper them with massages, pet pillows, and more

  • Pet products offered at unlikely places like home improvement and lawn and garden stores

  • Luxury pet items top the list, including top fashion, like faux mink coats, designer bird cages, pet jewelry, and high-end pet carriers

  • Specialized pet food with formulated balanced nutrition for animals

  • Pet grooming products, including electric toothbrushes, manicures with nail polish, and self-cleaning litter boxes

  • High tech pet products like digital ID tags, automated aquariums, and other products that reduce the burden of pet care

  • Pet spa. While pet owners appreciate the value of unwinding at the spa after a difficult day, they've also developed a demand for the same sort of services for their pets, including pet massages, a pet toy gym, and other luxuries

  • Pet safety. Pets are now being treated like children, with demand growing for products like seat belt systems and safety kits that target pets

  • Pet monogramming. Pets are considered as significant members of the family, and as such, their owners like to advertise their name on pet sweaters, feed bowls, tags, and even toys

Other Spending Growth of New Markets

1. Premium Pet Luxury Items - Retail stores across the country continue experiencing an increase in demand for pet supplies. Pet owners are buying more expensive "food, leashes, and bedding." They are even opting, more often, for designer pet clothes. This market also includes new and advanced over-the-counter medicines for a variety of pet health ailments.

Pet Luxury Item Stats

  • Spend on average $5 billion on pet gifts during the holidays

  • 63% of dog owners bought their pooch a gift

  • 36% of dog owners give their dog a birthday present

  • 27% of pet owners include pets in professional family or holiday photos

  • 45% of pet owners provide their pet with their own special bed

  • 25% of consumers treat their pets to a hair (blow dry) after a bath

A 2007 BusinessWeek article titled "The Pet Economy" reports:

  • People spend more on their pets every year (over $41 billion) than they do on movies ($10.8 billion), video games ($11.6 billion), or on music ($11.6 billion) combined.

  • The pet care industry is one of the fastest growing industries, second only to the consumer electronics industry.

2. Pet Services - The growth rate for pet services exceeds that of pet supplies, as more pet owners seek to incorporate pets into their daily routine by using pet daycare services, pet spas, and luxury hotels that host pets just as well as they host their owners, are experiencing tremendous success. Services within this niche include groomers, pet insurance, pet trusts, and pet funeral homes and end-of-life services.

  • U.S. pet owners spent $3.2 billion on pet services in 2008, such as grooming and boarding. Average annual expenses for dog and cat owners included $225 on boarding, and $127 on grooming for dogs, and $149 on boarding and $18 on grooming for cats.

  • Other services that pet owners spend money on every year include trust funds, and end-of-life services.

  • Other service related businesses that have grown out of this demand includes cleaning up yard pet waste, pet walking, and pet babysitting. Every segment of this niche continues to grow at the same rate as the rest of the industry.

5. Pet Business Networking - Stores such as Petco, PetSmart, and even Target and Walmart are looking for more ways to increase revenue within this market. This is creating a significant need within the pet industry for small businesses that service a certain niche, to network with and offer larger pet supply companies with their services. One example would be a small, local dog grooming companies stand to benefit from the opportunity of assisting Petco with offering their customers dog grooming service. Businesses that can take advantage of the similar growth of online social networking tools could capture advantage with business-to-business services that could meet those needs.

  • Pet industry is growing by 6% every year.

  • Pet food, health care, or boarding and grooming growing at a rate of 10 to 15%,

  • More services such as health insurance, fashion, and pet luxuries continue to become more in demand.

6. Pet E-commerce - Pet lovers are accessing pet-focused websites en masse, creating tremendous opportunities for online businesses that focus on pets and animals with offerings such as an online marketplace, forums, and blogs.

A 2007 report from Forrester Research shows:

  • Online pet product sales grew 30 percent in 2006

  • Several percent higher than the average of all online shoppers (26 percent), meaning that pet owners are more likely to shop online than other retail shoppers.

7. Pet Travel - Pet owners used to accept the fact that hotels and travel companies do not welcome pets, but no more. The demand for pet travel services such as hotel services offered for pets, local pet luxury hotels, or even pet travel accessories, is booming in every sense of the word.

  • 75% take pets with them often when traveling out of town

  • 79% choose to stay at pet-friendly hotels or other lodging

  • 20.2% use pet boarding services whenever they don't bring pets with them

  • 38.5% report having difficulty finding pet friendly lodging, and 64% report that they would stay at a hotel longer if they could bring their pets

  • 84.3% of those who travel with pets travel with dogs, while only 6.5% travel with cats

  • 35.7% report that it's especially hard to find lodging for pets over 20 pounds