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Brief Published: 4 Sep 2015

Pets Are Family

Millennials are most likely to dress their pets in clothes and buy them gifts

Nearly all (95%) of US pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family, according to an August 2015 survey from US research firm Nielsen.

The survey also found that over 60% of Americans have at least one pet in their household. Other highlights include:

  • Pampered With Presents: Pet owners are not only spending their money on food and vet bills. Nearly half buy birthday presents for their animals and over 60% bring them gifts after a holiday.
  • Doting Millennials: Although Gen X (aged 35 to 50) own the most pets, millennials are most likely to give them birthday presents: over half of this generation buy gifts for their pets, compared with 40% of Gen X, 42% of boomers (aged 51 to 69) and 27% of seniors (aged 70+). Millennials are also most likely to dress their animals in clothing.
  • Dogs Dominate: Over 70% of pet owners have at least one dog and around half have cats. Fish and birds are not as popular: around one in 10 own these pets.

The pet market presents significant opportunities for brands: US consumers spent more than $19.7bn on pet care last year, with $389m of this on pet toys alone. For strategies to target buyers of pet products, see Pet Design: A Growing Market, Tech Targets Pet Market and Trends in Pet Food.