Market Focus - Pet Owners: It's Raining Cat and Dog Lovers
No matter who you’re marketing to, you’re more than likely to reach a pet owner. After all, 63 percent of U.S. households—more than 71 million homes—have one or more pets, according to the 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. But while the pet owner market might encompass more than half the country, not all pet owners are created equal.
Dogs and cats are the most frequently owned pets, according to the APPMA, with dogs in 44.8 million households and cats in 38.4 million; freshwater fish are the next most commonly owned pet (14.2 million homes), followed by birds (6.4 million), small animals like hamsters or ferrets (6 million), reptiles (4.8 million), and equines (4.3 million). In terms of overall numbers, freshwater fish outnumber everything else with 142 million in homes. Cats come next with 88.3 million, then dogs with 74.3 million.
Pet industry expenditures totaled $38.5 billion in 2006. Pet food accounted for the bulk of the spending at $15.4 billion, followed by roughly equal numbers for supplies and over-the-counter medicine ($9.3 billion), and vet care ($9.2 billion). Rounding out the category are pet services such as grooming and boarding ($2.7 billion) and live animal purchases ($1.9 billion).
The Truth About Cats and Dogs
Pet owners are of all ages and genders, though women may dominate the market. Jo Sullivan, senior vice president of development and communications with the ASPCA, says that while the nonprofit’s donor base is 90 percent female with an average age of more than 55, its initial experiences in retail have revealed a different market. “We launched a licensed pet line this year to reach the pet parent audience, and we’ve found there’s not a clear demographic—no age range or male-to-female ratio—that tends to dominate,” she says.