Older, younger generations split US pet ownership in 2022

The 2022 survey marks the first time that that APPA survey results reflected a nearly 50/50 split between older and younger generations.

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Millennials and Generation Z made up nearly half the pet owning population in the United States in 2022, according to the American Pet Products Association’s latest survey results. Baby boomers and Generation X made up most of the other half of pet owners, with the builder generation accounting for only 2%.

“Millennials are the largest cohort,” Julie Springer, market research analyst for APPA, said during her presentation at Global Pet Expo on March 22 in Orlando, Florida, USA. “They're 33% of current pet owners, and they're on a slightly upward trend over the past few surveys.”

Boomers falling, Gen Z rising in pet ownership

The 2022 survey marks the first time that that the survey results reflected a 50/50 split between older and younger generations, Springer said. That demographic change has implications for the pet food industry because of the different attitudes among the generations.

Baby boomers, while once the largest pet owning group have steadily declined over the past several years. In 2018, baby boomers made up 29% of U.S. pet owners, then 27% in 2020. By 2022, that figure had declined to 24%.

Generation X now outnumbers baby boomers by 1%. Gen X pet ownership varied, dropping from 26% in 2018 to 24% in 2020, rising to 25% in 2022.

The youngest generation in the survey, Gen Z, also grew the most, Springer said. As this group leaves home and sets up their own homes, Gen Z has been able to acquire their own pets too. Gen Z steadily grew from 11% of the pet owning population in 2018 to 14% in 2020 and 16% in 2022.

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