As reported in Packaged Facts just-released Durable Dog and Cat Pet Care Products (May 2022), heightened spending on pets, including durable pet products as well as pet foods and consumables, is the result of two overarching factors. The first is affluent households accounting for most pet spending. The second is the nearly universal "pets as family" mindset. Tellingly, toys are the best-selling durable pet product category.
U.S. retail sales of durable pet care products for dogs and cats reached $7.9 billion in 2021, up from $6.5 billion in 2020. During the 2016-2021 period, the durables market experienced an 8.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). According to report author Shannon Brown, much of the growth occurred in the final two years of the period, with sales climbing 18% in 2020 and 20% in 2021 due to pandemic dynamics.
Long a key market driver behind the pricier fare underpinning much of the pet industry's dollar growth, higher-income households have been better equipped to handle the coronavirus, including by being broadband-connected and able to work from home, able to shelter at home comfortably due to larger living spaces and able to tap into savings and other financial fallbacks as the need arises.
Even before pandemic-related financial insecurity, loss of human contact and anxiety over personal health increased Americans' dependence on pets for companionship and comfort, a large majority of pet owners considered their pets to be full-fledged family members. In Packaged Facts' January 2022 Survey of Pet Owners, 92%-96% of pet owners agreed that they "consider [their] pets to be part of the family."
On top of being family members, pets are at the heart of the home for most pet owners. Among dog owners, 90% agree that pets are central to their home life, with 87% of cat owners and 85% of other pet owners agreeing to the same. This level of devotion indicates how thoroughly pets have been incorporated into the daily lives of pet owners, impacting not only what they purchase but what they do and where they go. The increasing importance of pets in the home has a pronounced impact in the durable pet products market, where so many of the products can be considered household furnishings or expressions of personal style, such as beds, bowls/waterers and crates/pens.The "pets as family" attitude has grown to such an extent that it is now accepted as a given among both pet owners and marketers alike.