Pet Ownership

Pets are an increasingly important market given the large proportion of consumers who live with animal companions and how many consider pets family.

In the Occasions Survey, 34% of consumers said they would likely be involved in a family or friend’s pet event during the year ahead and 29% expected one to be likely for themselves. In last year’s survey, 33% of respondents said they expected a new pet event for family and friends over the next year and 26% for themselves. In thinking about purchases for the new pet ownership occasion, 27% of study participants said they would likely purchase a home and housewares gift in the year ahead as compared to 22% a year earlier.

When they might purchase a housewares gift for new pet ownership doesn’t differ much through the year. When polled, the top response, at 24%, was don’t know/no opinion, suggesting that the timing issue is less important regarding pet ownership occasions. As pets are acquired, consumers purchase pet presents. Top home and housewares product categories under consideration for new pet gift purchasing are cleaning or home environment at 17%, organization or home decor products at 9%, bathroom or personal care products at 6%, bedroom products at 5% and kitchen at 3%.

Half of consumers participating in the Occasions Survey said they would purchase a specific gift for a new pet ownership occasion versus, at 40%, a gift card, but 48% of men would do so versus 31% of women.

For your friends and family, how likely is it, if at all, that new pet ownership will take place at least once in the next 12 months?

For new pet ownership, are you more likely to buy a gift card or a specific gift?

At 42%, 18- to 34-year-olds are more likely to purchase a home and housewares gift for a new pet occasion in the year ahead versus the second most likely 35- to 44-year-olds, at 31%.

In both the family and friends and personal cases, men, at 39% and 34%, respectively, are several points more likely than women to foresee a pet ownership occasion.

What general product categories of home and housewares gifts would you be likely to purchase for new pet ownership? (Select all that apply)

At 39%, affluent consumers earning more than $100,000 in annual income are most likely to anticipate a pet ownership occasion for family and friends and, at 33%, for themselves.

Men are seven points more likely, at 31%, than women to plan on purchasing a pet-oriented home and housewares gift in the year ahead.

For yourself, how likely is it, if at all, that new pet ownership will take place at least once in the next 12 months?

In the next 12 months, how likely is it, if at all, that you will purchase a home and housewares gift for new pet ownership?

Almost half of consumers 18-34 expect a family and friends pet event in the upcoming year or so, and 43% expect one for themselves—well above the total for the next highest age cohort, 35 to 44.

Final Thoughts

According to the 2023-2024 American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey, 66% of households in the United States include an animal companion, with 65.1 million having a dog, 46.5 million having a cat, 11.1 million having freshwater fish, 6.7 million having another small animal, 6.1 million having a bird and 6 million a reptile.

However, and perhaps more importantly, 51% of pet owners in the United States consider pets to be members of the family on an equal basis with humans and 46% say they are members of the family but not on the same footing as humans, the Pew Research Center determined. In total, 97% of the U.S. population considers pets family, with 57% of women pet owners saying their non-human residents are just as much a part of their family as human members compared with 43% of men. At 64%, lower-income pet owners are most likely to consider their pets to be as much a part of their family as a human member, Pew pointed out, compared to 46% of those with middle incomes and 43% of those with higher incomes.

APPA noted that pet ownership is something that can generate loyalty across generations as people who grow up with pets during childhood are most likely to acquire them as adults. The market for related gifts should remain strong considering that 66% of U.S. households include a pet.

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