Market Research Indicates Pet Industry Continues to Grow

Market to Dog Owners by Their Target Segments
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Cat videos may attract large numbers of viewers, but more people in the U.S. own dogs than cats. In terms of sheer numbers, more households claim a canine member of the family than other types of pets.  Roughly 62% of Americans own at least one pet. The top dog figure for the number of households with dogs runs roughly 71%, while about half (49%) of the households surveyed own cats. The numbers drop precipitously for other types of pets, with 11% of those surveyed having fish, 8% opting for a bird, and 9% owning a pet that does not fall into any one of these categories.

Are You as Old as Your Dog?

Not all dog owners are alike. Clear generational differences have emerged in recent years in the way that pet owners spend money. Probably because of the stage of their life, Gen Xers own more pets than Millennials do. A somewhat surprising contemporary trend is the purchase of birthday gifts for pets.  More than half of Millennials (54%) buy birthday presents for their pets, while only 42% of Gen Xers mark their pets' birthdays by giving them a gift. 

Along the same lines, pets owned by Millennials are more likely to be dressed in clothing designed for pets. Underneath that fancy clothing, pets are well-groomed since Americans spend roughly $166 million annually to see that their pets look their best. About $11 million is spent on brushes each year. 

Are You a Man or a Dog?

The pet industry is not just about pet food and carriers and kitty litter. A graphic image of the spin-offs from core pet industry product lines would look like tie-dye or art made on a spin art machine by a 5-year old.

Trends go off in every direction. There is a fascinating pet wedding industry in which thousands are spent on wedding attire, invitations, venues, and supplies to support the celebration. Psychics are hired to determine when the best pet-related decisions should be made, or if decisions should be made at all.


Safety is an important aspect of the pet industry. This is particularly true when pets are riding in cars as the behavior of a pet in a car can certainly impact the safety of the humans in a vehicle. Manufacturers have responded with a line of car seats for smaller dogs, which enable the dogs to see their surroundings better, a factor that contributes to a more contented and better-behaved dog in the long run.  

For larger dogs, cargo liners have been developed for SUVs that include a protective flap to flip over the parts of the car vulnerable to scratches when the dog enters or exits the cargo compartment of the vehicle. Some dogs prefer being in the back seat, so specialized hammock-style protection has been designed to cover the back seat and conceal the leg space directly in front of the bench seat.  

With the family car protected, everything is set for a trip to the dog bakery in town to pick up pet-themed cookies, cakes, and other quality treats. Or, the dog may be destined to make a trip to one of the many day care centers for dogs, with the most luxurious digs boasting pools for the pets. One the dog returns home, a dog house with heating and air conditioning may be a welcome retreat from the day's excitement.


Nielsen Answers Data July 31, 2015.

Nothing is too good for Fido: Pets that have it all.  (2015, August 17).  Nielsen Consumer Insights

Griggs, K. (2013, April 15).  When nothing is too fancy for Fido.  CNN.