Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S.: Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets, 3rd Edition
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The profile of pet owners is changing in response to rapid demographic shifts in American society. Recent pet ownership trends reflect profound ongoing transformations such as the accelerated aging of the population, the creation of a winner-take-all economy, the increasing importance of the Latino population, and the growth in the number of households without kids.
- Between 2008 and 2018, as the vanguard of the Boomer generation entered their 60s, the percent of pet owners in the 55-and-over age segment increased from 27% to 32%.
- As American society has divided into haves and have-nots, the shape of the pet owner population has changed accordingly. Over the past 10 years the percent of pet owners with a household income of $100,000 or more has increased from 31% to 40%.
- Over the past decade the number of Hispanic pet owners grew 44%. The non-Hispanic white pet owner population increased only 2% during this period.
- Between 2008 and 2018 the proportion of pet owners without children in the household increased from 58% to 62%.
Married couples without kids who own dogs provide another example of how consumer behavior on the part of pet owners is likely to evolve. This category of dog owners is more likely than dog owners on average to enjoy buying products that pamper their dogs. As more and more dog owners fit this profile, marketers positioning their products to attract indulgent dog owners will benefit accordingly.
Scope of the Report
This 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.
Consumer data in this report come from two primary sources. The first source consists of Packaged Facts National Pet Owner Surveys conducted in December 2018 and February/March 2019, April 2019, and July/August 2019. These surveys reflect a panel of 2,000 U.S. adults (age 18+) that is balanced to the national population on the primary demographic measures of gender, age bracket, race/ethnicity, geographic region, marital status, presence or absence of children in the household and household income.
Another source of consumer data in this report is the Simmons National Consumer Study (NCS) for Winter 2019, which was fielded between January 2018 and March 2019. For trend analysis, the report uses as a baseline the Winter 2009 Simmons NCS. On an ongoing basis, Simmons conducts booklet-based surveys of a large and random sample of consumers (approximately 25,000 for each 12-month survey compilation) who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. population.
The report is organized in terms of the categorization of pet population data collected by Simmons NCS. In addition to capturing information on the ownership of dogs and cats, Simmons NCS asks respondents to identify the number of pets they own in the following categories: 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” Simmons NCS category, although “other” pets could also include animals as diverse as horses and poultry.
The report also draws on data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.