Pet Population and Pet Owner Trends in the U.S.: Fish, Birds, Reptiles, and Small Animals

Jan 8, 2013
80 Pages - Pub ID: LA4938671
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There is a lot more to the pet industry than dogs and cats. While research into the human-animal bond tends to focus on the special relationship between people and dogs that has evolved over thousands of years, today’s pet owners do not limit their connection with animals to dogs—or cats—alone. A wide range of other animals have found their way into the households and affections of pet lovers.

American pet owners live in the company of 116 million fish, birds, small animals and reptiles. Fish tanks can be found in 7.2 million households and bird cages in 4.6 million households. Reptiles are pets in 1.8 million households. Tens of millions of adults—and their kids—enjoy the companionship of non-canines and non–felines. For example, 15.6 million adults reside in households with fish and 10.4 million take pleasure in the company of birds. Rabbits warm the hearts and engage the children of 2.5 million adults.

These pet owners represent big business for the pet industry. They groom and board their birds, buy toys for their iguanas, purchase medications for their turtles, take their gerbils to the vet, light and decorate their fish tanks and, of course, buy food for all of the tens of millions of pets that they own besides their cats and dogs. The spending power of owners of pets other than cats and dogs has a significant impact on the bottom line of marketers and retailers of pet products and services.

This all new Packaged Facts report shows why owners of pets other than dogs and cats represent a key segment for a pet industry beleaguered by the recession. After a noticeable recessionary slump, the report offers strong evidence that ownership of fish, birds and small animals is on the rebound. The report highlights how marketers can take advantage of an improving market and suggests what they can do to leverage the connection consumers have with these pets.

The report offers timely insights into consumers who maintain a diverse and often exotic collection of pets and provides a road map that marketers can follow to connect with them. Owners of birds and fish, for example, tend to be young and multicultural and are much more likely to be urban cliff dwellers residing in apartments, condos or co-ops in large cities, especially in the Northeast. Marketers will find these Gen-Y pet owners to be highly engaged with social media. Bird owners, for example, are 37% more likely than the average pet owner to purchase products advertised on a social sharing website and are 24% more likely to place greater trust in product information they get on a social sharing website.

Another recurring theme of the report is the critical role parents and children play in this segment of the pet market. Compared to pet owners who have cats and dogs exclusively, owners of fish, reptiles and small animals are much more likely to have children under the age of 18 in their households (57% vs. 34%). Nearly 90% of households with hamsters have children, and 87% of these have children under the age of 12. Around 60% of households with fish, rabbits and reptiles have children under the age of 18. Thus, children and their parents are at the heart of the market for fish, reptiles and small animals and represent a key factor in the post-recession recovery and long-term growth prospects of the pet industry.

This report focuses on pet owners with fish, birds, reptiles and other pets besides dogs and cats. It is important to note the differences in the way the two principal primary data sources used in the report categorize data on pets other than cats and dogs.
  • The main source of primary data is the Summer 2012 Experian Simmons National Consumer Study (NCS), which was fielded between August 2011 and August 2012. Trend data are derived from the Spring 2007 Experian Simmons National Consumer Study and the Summer Experian Simmons National Consumer Studies from 2008 through 2012.
  • The Experian Simmons NCS questionnaire asks respondents to identify the number of pets they own in the following categories: dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles, rabbits, hamsters and “other” pets. Small animals such as gerbils, ferrets and guinea pigs likely account for the preponderance of pets included in the “other” category, although “other” pets could also include animals as diverse as horses and poultry.
  • The report also cites data from the American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. This industry source uses the following categories for owners of pets other than dogs and cats: bird; fish (including saltwater and freshwater); small animal (including rabbit, hamster, guinea pig, chinchilla, ferret, gerbil, hermit crab, mouse/rat, pot-bellied pig and “other” small animals); reptiles (including frog/toad, iguana, newt/salamander, lizard, turtle/tortoise, snake, scorpion and “other” reptile); and equine.
Other data sources used in the report include the 2012 edition of the American Veterinary Medical Association U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, the 2011-2012 Pet Age Retailer Report and the 2012 State of the Industry Survey of Pet Product News International published in the 2013 PPNI Buying Guide. The report is also based upon data collected from a wide range of industry sources, including company websites, trade publications, business newspapers and magazines and consumer blogs.
Chapter 1 Executive Summary
Highlights of the Report
Scope and Methodology
Topline Insights into Pet Owners
Americans Own More than 100 Million Pets besides Cats and Dogs
Most Dog and Cat Owners Do Not Own Other Pets
Rebound in Pet Ownership May Be Underway
Strength of Recovery Varies Across Different Types of Pets
Many Owners Maintain Diverse Collection of Pets
Owners Develop Bonds with All Kinds of Animals
Fish, Bird, Small Animal and Reptile Owners Key Consumer Segment
Pockets of Affluence among Pet Owners Offer Targets of Opportunity
Parents and Children Play Critical Role
Marketing Strategies and Tactics Need to Acknowledge Youthful, MulticulturalProfile of Owners of Pets other than Cats and Dogs
Marketers Can Tap Into Social Media to Engage Owners of Fish, Birds, Rabbitsand Reptiles
Pet Owners Receptive to Multiple Sales Tactics
Demographic Highlights
Major Demographic Differences between Owners of Dogs and Cats Only andPet Owners with Birds, Fish, Reptiles and Rabbits
Different Pets Engage Different Folks
Profiles of Fish, Bird, Reptile and Small Animal Owners
Population of Fish Owners Begins to Rebound
Saltwater Fish Require Significant Expenditures by Their Owners
Number of Households with Birds on the Upswing
Latinos Love Birds
Bird Owners Also Favor Fish. . .Cats Not So Much
Cages Most Expensive Item for Bird Owners
Reptile Ownership on the Decline
Turtle/Tortoise Top Choice of Reptile Owners
Reptile Owners More Likely to Be Young and Single
Lizards and Iguanas Cost the Most to Maintain
Rabbits Favored by Small Animal Owners
Rabbit Owners More Likely to Be Young and Female
Food and Supplies Biggest Expenses of Small Animal Owners
Chapter 2 Overview of the Pet Population
Millions of Americans Look Beyond Dogs and Cats for AnimalCompanionship
Table 2-1: Pet Ownership of Fish, Birds, Reptiles, Rabbits, Hamsters and“Other” Pets, 2012
Table 2-2: Percent of All Pet Owners Owning Fish, Birds, Reptiles, Rabbits,Hamsters and “Other” Pets, 2012
Most Dog and Cat Owners Do Not Own Other Pets
Table 2-3: Percent of Pet Owners by Ownership of Cats or Dogs and OtherPets, 2012
Figure 2-1: Percent of Owners of Dogs or Cats Also Owning Fish, Birds,Reptiles, Rabbits, Hamsters and “Other” Pets
Americans Own More than 100 Million Pets besides Cats and Dogs
Table 2-4: Number of Pets and Average Number of Pets per Household byCategory of Pet (Excluding Cats and Dogs), 2012
Wide Diversity of Pets Found in Many Households
Table 2-5: Number of Households Owning Pets by Type of Pet, 2012
Table 2-6: Number of Adults in Households with Pets by Type of Pet, 2012
Dog Owners More Likely to Welcome Other Pets
Table 2-7: Percent of Households Owning Fish, Birds, Reptiles, Rabbits,Hamsters and Other Pets by Ownership of Cats and Dogs
Pet Owners without Dogs and Cats Represent Small but Important Segment . 17
Table 2-8: Type of Pet Owned by Pet Owners without Cats or Dogs
Owners Maintain Diverse Collection of Pets
Table 2-9: Household Cross Ownership of Pets by Type of Pet
Chapter 3 Trends and Opportunities
Pet Ownership Trends
Pet Ownership Still Shows Impact of Recession
Table 3-1: Number of Households with Pets by Type and Number of Pets,2007 vs. 2012
Rebound May Be Underway
Table 3-2: Number of Households with Pets by Type of Pet, 2011 vs. 2012
Strength of Recovery Varies Across Different Types of Pets
Figure 3-1: Number of Households Owning Fish, 2007-2012
Figure 3-2: Number of Households Owning Birds, 2007-2012
Figure 3-3: Number of Households Owning Reptiles, 2007-2012
Table 3-3: Number of Households Owning Pets by Type of Pet, 2007-2012
Pet Ownership Patterns Undergo Shift
Table 3-4: Number of Households with Pets by Number and Type of Pet,2007 vs. 2012
Marketing Implications
Owners of Fish, Birds, Small Animals and Reptiles Are Vital to Pet Industry
Ownership of Other Pets Affects Pet Supply Shopping Patterns of Dog andCat Owners
Table 3-5: Where Dog and Cat Owners with Other Types of Pets Buy Dog andCat Pet Supplies, 2012
Families and Children at the Core of Market for Fish, Reptiles and SmallAnimals
Table 3-6: Presence of Children under 18 in Households of Pet Owners byType of Pet Owned
Table 3-7: Presence and Age of Children in Household by Type of PetOwned
Figure 3-4: Percent of Pet Owners Agreeing “My Children Have a SignificantImpact on the Brands I Choose” by Type of Pet
Marketing Strategies and Tactics Need to Acknowledge Youthful, Urban,Multicultural Profile of Owners of Pets Other than Cats and Dogs
Table 3-8: Demographic Highlights of Pet Owners by Type of Pet Owned
Marketers Can Tap Into Pockets of Affluence among Pet Owners
Table 3-9: Pet Owners with a Household Income of $100,000 or More byType of Pet Owned
Social Media Influence Owners of Fish, Birds, Reptiles and Small Animals
Table 3-10: Percent Agreeing “I Talk about Things I See On Social Sharing/Networking Websites in Face-to-Face Conversations” by Type of PetOwned
Table 3-11: Consumer Use of Social Media by Type of Pet Owned
Fish and Rabbit Owners More Likely to Buy Online
Table 3-12: Internet Orders in Last 12 Months by Pet Owners by Type of PetOwned
Cross Ownership of Pets Creates Opportunity for Cross Selling
Rabbit and Fish Owners Most Likely to Buy from Catalogs
Figure 3-5: Percent of Pet Owners Purchasing from a Catalog in Last 12Months by Type of Pet Owned
Fish and Bird Owners Head to Strip Malls More Often
Table 3-13: Percent of Pet Owners Visiting Shopping and Strip Malls Four orMore Times in the Past Four Weeks by Type of Pet Owned
Direct Sales Efforts Work
Figure 3-6: Percent of Pet Owners Who Buy Products from CompaniesWhich Sell Their Products Directly to Consumers through Distributorsor Representatives Who Work from Their Homes
Cents-Off Coupons Entice Pet Owners to Buy New Products
Figure 3-7: Percent of Pet Owners Who Use Cents-Off Coupons to Try OutNew Products by Type of Pet Owned
Cable TV Channels Offer Path to Many Pet Owners
Table 3-14: Pet Owners Viewing Animal Planet and National GeographicChannel in Last Seven Days by Type of Pet
Chapter 4 Demographic Highlights of Pet Owners
Demographic Characteristics of Pet Owners by Type of Pet
Major Demographic Differences between Owners of Dogs and Cats Only andPet Owners with Birds, Fish, Reptiles and Rabbits
Table 4-1: Demographic Highlights of Pet Owners by Type of Pet Owned
Different Pets Engage Different Folks
Table 4-2: Demographic Profile of Owners of Fish, Birds, Reptiles, Rabbitsand Other Pets
Pet Owners Drawn to the Outdoors
Table 4-3: Sports Played or Participated in by Pet Owners in Last 12 Monthsby Type of Pet Owned
Owners of Fish, Birds, Reptiles and Rabbits by Demographic
Characteristic
Pet Owners Are Young
Table 4-4: Pet Ownership by Age Group and Gender
Multicultural Pet Owners Like Fish, Birds and Reptiles
Table 4-5: Pet Ownership by Race and Hispanic Origin
Wide Regional Differences in Pet Preferences
Table 4-6: Pet Ownership by Region of Residence
Pet Fish Swim in the Midst of Affluence
Table 4-7: Pet Ownership by Educational Attainment
Table 4-8: Pet Ownership by Household Income and Type of Residence
Singles Drawn to Reptiles
Table 4-9: Pet Ownership by Marital Status
Children Most Common in Households with Hamsters
Table 4-10: Pet Ownership by Presence and Age of Children inHousehold
Chapter 5 Fish and Bird Owners
Fish Owners
Population of Fish Owners Begins to Rebound
Figure 5-1: Number of Households Owning Pet Fish, 2007-2012
Table 5-1: Number of Households Owning Pet Fish by Number of Fish,2011 vs. 2012
Fish Owners Are Well Educated and Affluent
Table 5-2: Demographic Highlights of Fish Owners
Many Fish Owners Also Favor Rabbits
Table 5-3: Cross Ownership of Pets by Fish Owners
Saltwater Fish Require Significant Expenditures by Their Owners
Table 5-4: Specific Expenses in the Past 12 Months for All Freshwater andSaltwater Fish Owned, 2010
Bird Owners
Number of Households with Multiple Birds on the Upswing
Figure 5-2: Number of Households Owning Pet Birds, 2007-2012
Table 5-5: Number of Households with Pet Birds, 2010 vs. 2012
Table 5-6: Number of Pet Birds and Average Number of Pet Birds perHousehold Owning Pet Birds, 2007 vs. 2012
Owners Bond with Their Birds
Table 5-7: How Pet Owners View Their Pets by Type of Pet, 2011
Latinos Love Birds
Table 5-8: Demographic Highlights of Bird Owners
Bird Owners Also Favor Fish . . . Cats Not So Much
Table 5-9: Cross Ownership of Pets by Bird Owners
Cages Most Expensive Item for Bird Owners
Table 5-10: Specific Expenses for All Birds Owned, 2010
Chapter 6 Reptile and Small Animal Owners
Reptile Owners
Reptile Ownership on the Decline
Figure 6-1: Number of Households Owning Reptiles, 2007-2012
Table 6-1: Number of Households with Reptiles, 2007 vs. 2012
Table 6-2: Number of Reptiles and Average Number of Reptiles perHousehold Owning Reptiles, 2007 vs. 2012
Turtle/Tortoise Top Choice of Reptile Owners
Figure 6-2: Type of Reptile Owned, 2010
Reptile Owners More Likely to Be Young and Single
Table 6-3: Demographic Profile of Reptile Owners
Reptile Owners Also Like to Have Fish
Table 6-4: Cross Ownership of Pets by Reptile Owners
Lizards and Iguanas Cost the Most to Maintain
Figure 6-3: Total Expenses for All Reptiles Owned, 2010
Table 6-5: Specific Expenses for All Reptiles Owned by Type of Reptile,2010
Small Animal Owners
Rabbits Favored by Small Animal Owners
Figure 6-4: Type of Small Animal Owned, 2010
Rabbits Multiply
Figure 6-5: Number of Households Owning Rabbits, 2007-2012
Table 6-6: Number of Households with Pet Rabbits, 2007 vs. 2012
Table 6-7: Number of Pet Rabbits and Average Number of Pet Rabbits perHousehold Owning Pet Rabbits, 2007 vs. 2012
Rabbit Owners More Likely to Be Young and Female
Table 6-8: Demographic Profile of Rabbit Owners
Rabbit Owners More Likely to Own Variety of Pets
Table 6-9: Cross Ownership of Pets by Rabbit Owners
Food and Supplies Biggest Expenses of Small Animal Owners
Table 6-10: Average Expenses for All Small Animals Owned by Type of Animal, 2010

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