Millennial pet ownership generation gap grew 2018-2020

Many of those pet owners may be new to caring for animals, according to insights she shared from APPA’s surveys and reports. Of those in the survey who didn’t own pets currently, 18% had owned a pet in the past, while 12% were classified as non-pet-owners.

Tim Wall Headshot Small Headshot
(monkeybusinessimages | BigStock.com)
(monkeybusinessimages | BigStock.com)

A few years shy of a decade ago, millennials became the age group in the United States with the highest pet ownership rate. Data released by research firm GfK during Global Pet Expo 2015 estimated that 35.2% of millennials owned a pet, compared to 32.8% of boomers. At the most recent Global Pet Expo, Julie Springer, American Pet Products Association (APPA) market analyst, discussed how millennials continued to become the largest pet owning demographic group in the U.S.

Between 2018 and 2020, APPA survey data suggests that millennials continued to increase their share of pet ownership, as the gap between older and younger generations grew. Millennials now make up 32% of all U.S. pet owners, while baby boomers have declined to 27% of the total. In 2018, millennials were still the largest group at 31%, but baby boomers made up 29%, and Gen X accounted for 26%.

Meanwhile, the age group younger than millennials, Generation Z, grew to 14% of the U.S. pet owner population in 2020. Gen X dropped to 24% in that year.

Millennials have grown particularly in cat ownership, increasing from 30% to 34%, while only increasing one percentage point in dog ownership. Millennials also increased significantly in bird ownership, going from 36% in 2018 to 45% in 2020. Nevertheless, dogs are the top choice of pet among millennials. Eighty percent of millennial pet owners have dogs. Dogs also topped pet ownership in the other age groups.

Top pet ownership by age group

Baby boomer

  • Dog – 69%
  • Cat – 45%

Generation X

  • Dog – 78%
  • Cat – 55%

Millennial

  • Dog – 80%
  • Cat – 53%

Generation Z

  • Dog – 78%
  • Cat – 46%

New pets drive average years of ownership down 2018-2020

After the pandemic pet ownership surge, APPA market research suggests that 70% of American households now include a pet of some species, Springer said. Many of those pet owners may be new to caring for animals, according to insights she shared from APPA’s surveys and reports. Of those in the survey who didn’t own pets currently, 18% had owned a pet in the past, while 12% were classified as non-pet-owners.

In the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, pet owners in the United States responded that 54% of their household contained dogs. Cats followed, making their homes in 35% of households. U.S. pet owners also kept freshwater fish (9%), birds (8%), small animals (5%), reptiles (4%), saltwater fish (2%) and horses (3%).

The survey asked pet owners how long they had owned a pet. The average number of years of pet ownership has declined or remained consistent from 2018 to 2020, she said. A lower average means new pet owners.

 

Page 1 of 544
Next Page