The number of North American pet owners has remained constant in recent years, but pet owner demographics continue to shift. According to a 2017 report on pet population and ownership trends in the US from Packaged Facts, 54.6 percent of US households owned pets in 2017, equaling approximately 66.8 million households. This percentage has not risen or fallen significantly in the past few years, but among those households, pet ownership varies by age, ethnicity and gender. The fluctuation and diversity among pet ownership demographics continues to create new challenges for pet food marketers and professionals.
Read the entire article about North American pet ownership demographics in the March 2018 issue of Petfood Industry.
During the past decade, a majority of pet owners in the US were middle aged. In fact, the median age of pet owners increased slightly between 2006 and 2016, according to a survey from Simmons Market Research. As the baby boomer generation ages, they have taken more interest in pets for companionship and health benefits. According to Packaged Facts’ 2017 report, in 2015 and 2016, the oldest of the boomers began to turn 70, and the percentage of pet owners in the 70-plus age group rose to about 40 percent. As millennials begin to outnumber baby boomers, however, this particular pet owner demographic has reached its tipping point.
Now ranking the highest among generations, millennial pet ownership has surpassed baby boomers, according to a December 2017 Packaged Facts report on pet food in the US. The report also states that millennials account for 35 percent of all pet owners.
Millennial pet ownership points toward the pet food market’s future success, according to Bob Vetere of American Pet Products Association (APPA). “We’ve been anxious to see how this new group of pet owners will affect the industry, and now that they’re here and the industry spending is higher than ever, it’s a promising sign that our country’s pets are in good hands,” said Vetere in the report.
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.