The future of the pet market belongs to millennials, according to a new report, “Millennials as Pet Market Consumers,” from Packaged Facts. In the report, Packaged Facts shows why millennial consumers will play an even more significant role in the pet industry over the next decade.

The accelerating aging of the American population threatens to shift the consumer landscape for the pet industry because pet ownership traditionally has declined precipitously after age 60. In addition, the population of 40- to 54-year-olds – an age segment with a relatively high propensity to own and spend money on pets – is expected to decline. Millennials will account for an ever growing share of pet expenditures in the years ahead because they represent a large population cohort that will be entering a stage of life when expenditures on pet products and services jump dramatically.

The report highlights how the essential economic optimism of millennials augurs well for the pet industry. For example, Packaged Facts National Online Consumer Survey data cited in the report show that pet owners in the 18- to 34-year-old age group are much more likely than those in the 35-and-over age group to expect to spend more for pet products and pet care services during the next few years.

The report also shows how millennial pet owners differ sharply from their counterparts in the 35- and-over group and demonstrates why and how marketers of pet products and pet care services need to be attuned to the expectations of millennial pet owners as consumers. In some ways, the consumer behavior of millennial pet owners simply reflects their overall consumer orientation and behavior. For example, when it comes to shopping for products for their pets, millennial pet owners are much more likely than other pet owners to be tethered to their smartphones to compare prices and products and to use mobile apps to scan a QR code to get promotions or discounts when buying pet products.

Moreover, millennial pet owners are generally less concerned than other pet owners about brand loyalty. According to Packaged Facts National Online Consumer Survey data cited in the report, this consumer characteristic crosses over into the approach millennials take when they buy food for their pets. Compared with pet owners in the 35-and-over age group, millennial pet owners are much less likely to think it is important to “get the specific brands I want” when shopping for pet products and are far more likely to have tried a new brand of dog food in the last 30 days.

The report shows that millennials also stand alone in comparison to other pet owners when it comes specifically to the care and feeding of their pets, For example, millennial pet owners are much more likely to use raw pet food or pet foods with formulations geared toward enhancing the health of their pets. Compared to pet owners in the 35-and-over age group, millennial pet owners are more likely to trust in their own ability to take care of the teeth of their pets at home and consequently are much more likely to purchase pet oral care/dental hygiene products.

Scope of the report

This report focuses on millennial pet owners (those in the 18- to 34-year-old age group). When referring to pet owners who are 35 years old and over, the report interchangeably uses the terms “other” pet owners as well as those “in the 35-and-over age group.” The report analyzes trends in the growth of the population of millennial pet owners, provides a demographic profile of millennial pet owners, analyzes their attitudes toward their pets and highlights their pet care practices. The report highlights the consumer behavior of 18- to 34-year-old pet owners, including their buying power, retail channels favored for pet product purchases, shopping behavior and pet product preferences. It also includes an assessment of marketing approaches that work with millennial pet owners.


Consumer data in this report come from two primary sources. The first source is the Packaged Facts National Online Consumer Survey conducted in April, August and November/December 2015 and February 2016. 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 Summer 2015 (and Spring 2007 for trend analysis tables) from Experian Marketing Services. On an ongoing basis, Experian Marketing Services 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 also based upon data collected from a wide range of industry sources, including company websites, press releases, trade publications, business newspapers and magazines and consumer blogs.