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Pet Food Market Trends
on March 10, 2017

Pet owner demographics get grayer, more golden

An older, more established pet ownership population provides profitable opportunities for pet food manufacturers.

Taking a look backward at the last decade of pet owner demographics, dog and cat owners have gotten somewhat grayer, in keeping with the US national population overall. Between 2006 and 2016, according to the most recent survey from Simmons Market Research, the median age has edged up from 46 to 49 among dog owners and from 47 to 51 among cat owners (see Figure 1).

age-patterns-dog-cat-owners

FIGURE 1: The median age of pet owners has increased in the last decade, keeping in line with the overall aging of the US population.

Even so, the median age of 49 among dog owners (that is, the mid-point age at which there are as many dog owners who are younger as dog owners who are older) is somewhat younger than the national median, while the cat owner median age of 51 hews to the national pattern.

This variation reflects a disproportionate uptick in dog ownership among today’s millennials. The 18- to 35-year-old share of the overall population dog owners up edged up from 25 percent in 2006 to 27 percent in 2016, while the pattern for cat ownership took the opposite bent, with this age group dipping slightly from 23 percent to 22 percent of the overall cat owner population.

Income patterns and pet ownership

The real drama, however, plays out in income patterns (see Figure 2). Cat owners on average are somewhat more prosperous than the national population, while dog owners are considerably more prosperous, in keeping with the significant discretionary…

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