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Millennials as Pet Market Consumers


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Millennials as Pet Market Consumers

The millennial generation has become a driving force in the American pet industry. Between 2007 and 2015, millennials were responsible for 43% of the growth in the number of pet owners in the United States. The 43 million pet owners in the 18- to 34-year-old age group now account for around one in three pet owners. Moreover, millennial pet owners bring significant buying power to the table. In 2014 households owned by millennials spent a total of $10.6 billion on their pets.

Millennials as Pet Market Consumers explores millennial spending power and the significant role it will play in the pet market over the next decade. The aging American population threatens to shift the consumer landscape for the pet industry because pet ownership traditionally has declined precipitously after the age of 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 pet products—is expected to decline. As the millennial generation ages and earns more money, their money spent on pet products is likely to increase exponentially and increase market revenue. 

The report highlights how millennial spending power bodes well for the pet market. 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 population are much more likely than those in the 35-and-over age group to expect to spend more on 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 age group and demonstrates why and how marketers of pet products care services need to be attuned to the expectations of millennial pet owners consumer knowledge. 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 pet products, 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, the millennial generation is 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 to 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 bettering their pets' health. 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.

Methodology

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.

The millennial generation has become a driving force in the American pet market. Between 2007 and 2015, millennials were responsible for 43% of the growth in the number of pet owners in the United States. The 43 million pet owners in the 18- to 34-year-old age group now account for around one in three pet owners. Moreover, millennial pet owners bring significant buying power to the table. In 2014 households headed by Millennial consumers spent a total of $10.6 billion on their pets.

This new Packaged Facts report 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 the age of 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 to 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.

Methodology

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.


  • Executive Summary
    • Scope of the Report
    • Methodology
    • Topline Insights and Opportunities
      • 43 Million Millennials Own Pets
      • Millennials Help Drive Growth in Pet Ownership
      • Millennial Pet Owners Wield Significant Buying Power
      • Millennial Pet Owners Will Take on Even More Importance by 2020
      • Millennials Expect to Spend More on Pet Products and Services
      • Economic Forces May Affect Current Spending by Millennials
      • Marketers Can Appeal to Millennials' Urge to Pamper Their Pets
      • Millennial Pet Owners More Subject to Impulse Buying
      • Hispanic Millennial Pet Owners the Wave of the Future
      • Opportunities Abound for Pet Foods Viewed as Safe by Millennials
    • Profile of Millennial Pet Owners
      • Pet Ownership Preferences Differ
      • Millennials Provide Major Boost to Pet Ownership
      • Latinos Key Millennial Pet Owner Segment
      • Millennials Drive Pet Ownership Growth in Wide Range of Pet Types
      • Millennials Behind Uptick in Number of Dog Owners
      • Pet Services More Popular
      • Non-Traditional Veterinary Service Providers Favored
      • Millennials Turn to Technology to Keep Track of Their Pets
      • Millennial Pet Owners Form Distinct Demographic Segment
      • Demographics Vary by Type of Pet
    • Consumer Behavior
      • Aggregate Pet Expenditures by Millennial Consumers Total $10.6 Billion
      • Online Purchases of Pet Products More Common
      • Brick-and-Mortar Channel Choices Differ
      • Millennials More Likely to Buy All Kinds of Pet Products
      • Home Delivery of Pet Food Appeals to Millennials
      • Millennial Pet Owners Turn to Smartphones for Shopping Support
      • Mobile Apps Far More Important to Millennial Pet Owners When Shopping
      • Millennials Pay Attention to What's in the Food They Buy for Their Pets
      • Millennials Look for Healthy Pet Food Ingredients
      • Raw Diet Preferred for Pets
      • Millennial Dog Owners Spend on Treats and Chews
      • Nutritional Benefits in Dog Treats Have High Priority
      • Millennial Pet Owners Prime Customers for Pet Medications
    • Marketing to Millennial Pet Owners
      • Millennial Pet Product Shoppers Look for Sales
      • Coupons Less Likely to Entice Millennial Pet Owners
      • Millennial Pet Owners Fickle toward Pet Product Brands
      • Eco-Friendly Packaging for Dog Food Matters to Millennials
      • Traditional Media Fail to Engage Millennial Pet Owners
      • Hispanic Millennial Pet Owners More Acculturated than Other Latinos
      • Millennial Pet Owners Far More Open to Digital Marketing
      • Social Media Key Marketing Tool
      • Cause Marketing Works
      • Celebrity Marketing Succeeds
  • Topline Insights and Opportunities
    • Topline Insights
      • 43 Million Millennials Own Pets
        • Table Number of Pet Owners, Millennials vs. Others, 2015 (in thousands)
      • Millennials Help Drive Growth in Pet Ownership
        • Table Number of Adults Owning Pets, Millennials vs. Others, 2007-2015 (in thousands)
      • Life Stage of Millennials Promotes Increasing Pet Ownership
        • Table Selected Attitudes of Millennials Toward Having Pets, 2016
      • Millennial Pet Owners Wield Significant Buying Power
      • Millennial Pet Owners Will Take on Even More Importance by 2020
        • Table Projected Trends in Pet Ownership, 2015-2020 (in thousands)
        • Table Trends in Number of Pet Owners by Generation and Age Group, 2015 vs. 2020 (in thousands)
    • Market Opportunities
      • What Marketers Need to Know About Millennial Pet Owners
        • Table Profile of Millennial Pet Owners
      • Millennials Expect to Spend More on Pet Products and Services
      • Economic Forces May Affect Spending by Millennials
        • Table Attitudes Toward Spending on Pet Products, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2016
      • Millennial Dog Owners Major Growth Category for Pet Stores
        • Table Selected Gains and Losses in Millennial Pet Product Shoppers by Retail Channel, 2010 vs. 2015 (in thousands of U.S. households)
      • Marketers Can Appeal to Millennial Urge to Pamper Their Pets
        • Table Attitudes Toward Pampering Pets, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2016
      • Millennial Pet Owners More Subject to Impulse Buying
      • Pet Retailers Need to Meet Expectations of Millennial Shoppers
      • Hispanic Millennial Pet Owners the Wave of the Future
      • Opportunities Abound for Pet Foods Viewed as Safe by Millennials
        • Table Attitudes Toward Pet Food Safety, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2016
      • Millennials Offer Strong Prospects for Vendors of Meal Kits for Pets
        • Table Use of Home Delivery Options, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
        • Table Percent Making Home-Cooked Meals or Adding Flavors or Side Dishes to Pre-Made Pet Food in Last 30 Days, Millennial vs. Other Dog or Cat Owners, 2016
      • PetPlate
      • Just Food for Dogs
      • The Farmer's Dog
  • Profile of Millennial Pet Owners
    • Pet Ownership Patterns
      • Dogs More Popular among Millennials
        • Table Number of Pet Owners by Category of Pet, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015 (in thousands)
      • Millennials Drawn to Rabbits, Hamsters and Reptiles
        • Table 18- to 34-Year-Old Pet Owners as Percent of All Pet Owners by Type of Pet, 2015
      • Millennials More Likely to Own More Than One Type of Pet
        • Table Cross-Ownership of Pets by 18- to 34-Year-Olds by Type of Pet Owned, 2015
        • Table Cross-Ownership of Pets by Adults 35 Years Old and Over by Type of Pet Owned, 2015
      • Millennials More Likely to Own Multiple Pets of Same Type
        • Table Ownership of More Than One Pet by Type of Pet, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
        • Table Pet Owners with Multiple Pets by Type of Pet by Age Group, 2015
      • Younger Dogs or Cats More Common in Millennial Households
        • Table Age of Dogs Owned, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2016
        • Table Age of Cats Owned, Millennial vs. Other Cat Owners, 2016
        • Table Size of Dogs Owned, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2016
    • Trends in Millennial Pet Ownership
      • Millennials Provide Major Boost to Pet Ownership
        • Table Number of Adults Owning Pets by Age Group, 2007-2015 (in thousands)
      • Multicultural Millennial Pet Owners Especially Important
        • Table Trends in Growth in the Number of Pet Owners by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2007-2015 (in thousands)
      • Latinos Are Key Millennial Pet Owner Segment
        • Table Growth in the Number of 18- to 34-Year-Old Pet Owners by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2007-2015 (in thousands)
        • Table Growth in the Number of Pet Owners by Age Group and Race and Hispanic Origin, 2007-2015 (in thousands)
      • Millennials Drive Pet Ownership Growth in Wide Range of Pet Types
        • Table Growth in Number of 18- to 34-Year-Old Pet Owners by Type of Pet Owned, 2007-2015 (in thousands)
        • Table Number of Pet Owners 35 Years Old and Over by Type of Pet Owned, 2007-2015 (in thousands)
      • Millennials Behind Uptick in Number of Dog Owners
        • Table Growth in Number of Dog Owners, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2007-2015 (in thousands)
    • Millennials and Their Pets
      • Pet Caretaking Roles Differ
        • Table Primary Household Responsibility for Taking Care of Pets, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Pets Are Part of the Family for Millennials Too
      • Pet Services More Popular
        • Table Use of Selected Pet Services in Last 12 Months, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2016
      • Non-Traditional Veterinary Service Providers Favored
        • Table Use of Non-Traditional Veterinary Services in Last 12 Months, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2016
      • Millennials More Likely to Turn to Social Media for Pet Health Advice
        • Table Main Places Pet Owners Turn for Health Advice for Pets, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Millennials Turn to Technology to Keep Track of Their Pets
        • Table Devices Used to Track Activities and Health of Dogs, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2016
        • Table Devices Used to Track Activities and Health of Cats, Millennial vs. Other Cat Owners, 2016
      • Millennials More Likely to View Mobile Apps as Pet Care Tool
        • Table Percent Currently Using or Interested in Using Mobile Apps for Dog or Cat Care by Type of Activity, Millennial vs. Other Cat or Dog Owners, 2015
    • Demographic Highlights of Millennial Pet Owners
      • Millennial Pet Owners Form Distinct Consumer Segment
      • Gender and Race and Hispanic Origin
      • Region and Place of Residence
      • Education and Household Income
      • Marital Status and Household Structure
      • Housing Tenure
        • Table Demographic Profile: Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Demographics Vary by Type of Pet
        • Table Demographic Profile of 18- to 34-Year-Old Pet Owners by Type of Pet Owned, 2015
      • Hispanic Pet Ownership Patterns Differ
        • Table Millennial Pet Ownership by Type of Pet, Hispanic vs. Non-Hispanic White, 2015
  • Consumer Behavior
    • Buying Power of Millennial Pet Owners
      • Overview
      • Aggregate Pet Expenditures by Millennial Consumers Total $10.6 Billion
        • Table Aggregate Consumer Expenditures for Pets by Age Group, 2013 vs. 2014 (in million $)
        • Table Mean Consumer Expenditures for Pets by Age Group, 2013 vs. 2014
    • Retail Channel Choices
      • Online Purchases of Pet Products More Common
        • Table Attitudes Toward Online Shopping, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
        • Table Pet Products Bought Online in Last 12 Months, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Millennial Pet Owners Shop Far and Wide at Brick-and-Mortar Channels
        • Table Shopping Habits, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
        • Table Where Purchase Pet Products, Millennial vs. Other Dog or Cat Owners, 2015
        • Table Specialty Brick-and-Mortar Channels Used in Last Three Months to Purchase Pet Foods, Millennial vs. Other Dog or Cat Owners, 2016 (percent of those who personally buy pet products)
      • Home Delivery of Pet Food Appeals to Millennials
    • In-Store Shopping Behavior
      • Millennial Pet Owners Turn to Smartphones for Shopping Support
        • Table Used the Internet in the Last 30 days in Relation to Pet Products by Type of Device, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Mobile Apps Far More Important to Millennial Pet Owners When Shopping
        • Table Have Used or Would Be Interested in Using a Mobile App for Pet Product Shopping by Type of Activity, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
    • Highlights of Product Preferences
      • Millennials More Likely to Buy All Kinds of Pet Products
        • Table Types of Pet Products Bought in Last 12 Months, Millennial vs. Other Dog or Cat Owners, 2015
      • Millennials Pay Attention to What's in the Food They Buy for Their Pets
      • Millennials Claim Willing to Pay More for Healthier Pet Foods
        • Table Price Points of Dog Food Generally Purchased, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2015
      • Millennials Look for Healthy Pet Food Ingredients
        • Table Pet Food Formulation Type Currently Used, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
        • Table Dog Food Ingredient Formulation Currently Used, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2015
      • Raw Diet Preferred for Pets
        • Table Type of Pet Food Purchased or Used in Last 30 Days, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Millennial Dog Owners More Likely to Choose Wet/Moist Dog Food
      • Pet Food Supplements Favored for Cats
      • Millennial Dog Owners Spend on Treats and Chews
      • Nutritional Benefits in Dog Treats Have High Priority
        • Table Type of Pet Treat or Chew Purchased in Past 12 Months, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2015
      • Millennial Pet Owners Prime Customers for Pet Medications
        • Table Attitudes toward Pet Medications, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Millennials More Likely to Trust Medications Bought in Stores
        • Table Trust in Sources of Pet Medications, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Millennial Dog Owners Buy More Pet Oral Hygiene Products
        • Table Oral Hygiene for Dogs, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2015
  • Marketing to Millennial Pet Owners
    • Overview
      • Millennial Pet Product Shoppers Look for Sales
      • Coupons Less Likely to Entice Millennial Pet Owners
        • Table Percent Finding/Printing Coupons From Websites, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Millennial Pet Owners Fickle toward Pet Product Brands
        • Table Attitudes Toward Brands, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Store Brands Appeal in Several Pet Food Categories
        • Table Percent of Dog or Cat Owners Buying Store Brands of Pet Food Most Often, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2015
      • Eco-Friendly Packaging for Dog Food Matters to Millennials
        • Table Importance of Environmentally-Friendly Packaging of Dry Pet Food, Millennial vs. Other Dog Owners, 2015
    • Media Usage and Marketing Approaches
      • Traditional Media Fail to Engage Millennial Pet Owners
        • Table Use of English-Language Media, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
        • Table Use of Smartphone When Watching TV, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Hispanic Millennial Pet Owners More Acculturated than Other Latinos
        • Table Language Preferences, Millennial Hispanic vs. Other Hispanic Pet Owners, 2015
        • Table Attitudes Toward Spanish-Language Media, Millennial Hispanic Pet Owners vs. Non-Pet Owners and Other Hispanic Pet Owners, 2015
      • Millennial Pet Owners Far More Open to Digital Marketing
        • Table Factors Influencing Purchase of Pet Care Products and Services, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Social Media Key Marketing Tool
        • Table Use of Social Media by 18- to 34-Year-Olds, Pet Owners vs. Others, 2015
      • Cause Marketing Works
        • Table Impact of Involvement by Pet Product Retailers and Brands in Pet Welfare and Rescue Causes, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2016
      • Celebrity Marketing Succeeds
        • Table Attitudes toward Celebrities, Millennial vs. Other Pet Owners, 2015
      • Hispanic Millennial Pet Owners Track Celebrities Even More
    • Case Studies of Marketing to Millennial Pet Owners
      • Petco Ties Success of IPO to Millennials
      • Wild Calling Offers Pet Food Brand "Created by Millennials for Millennials"
      • Zoic Farm Fare
      • Halo Appeals to Millennial Values
      • PetSmart Launches "Partners in Pethood" Campaign
      • Nestle Purina Embraces Humanization Trend in Pet Food
      • Petco Initiative Focuses Attention on Pet Nutrition
      • Vets Look to Attract Millennials

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