Inside the Mind of the Millennial Pet Owner

pet owners-millennials

Do you consider your pet to be part of your family? Or even, your “fur child”? Then you’re in good company. It’s no secret that millennials are putting off marriage and starting families later in life, and that may be in part due to their “starter children”. A recent study conducted by Gale found that 44% of millennials see their pets as “practice” for the real thing, with 21% citing that as the main reason for getting a pet, and 23% saying it was at least partially the reason. In an industry that topped $66.75 billion in 2016, millennials own more than 35% of pets in the U.S., according to the American Pet Products Association. Pet brands are realizing this demographic has been largely untapped thus far, and are conducting research to gain insight into the buying habits of the Millennial pet owner. We break it down below.

BRAND INTEGRITY Millennial pet owners are more conscientious when making purchases for their furry loved one than other generations. 86% of millennials prefer to buy items at smaller, locally-owned pet shops, and 73% are willing to splurge on a product if the company shows that they are giving back to the community in some way.  

QUALITY 68% of millennial pet owners report reading the nutrition labels on pet treats and foods. They expect high quality products for their pets, and are willing to pay more for it.  According to a report from Wakefield, 81% of millennials say BPA-free is essential in pet products. Furthermore, 78% say natural or organic materials are crucial, and 77% say the same for hypoallergenic shampoo.

VET GUIDANCE At $15.95 billion, veterinary care was the second largest category, behind pet food ($28.23 billion), of the $66.75 billion Americans spent on pets in 2016. Pet owners in the 18-39 age group are far more likely to depend on their veterinarian for advice about pet products. They are also more likely to use veterinary products and visits preventatively, rather than just treatment.

SPLURGING Studies show that 76% of millennials are more likely to splurge on an item for their pet than they would for themselves, including for expensive treats (44%) or a custom bed (38%). They will purchase discretionary products or services under the guise that they are nondiscretionary. Services such as dog walking or pet daycare are seen as essential, and these owners are more likely to cut something out for themselves than limit their pet.  

QuestionPro Audience has more than 10 niche panels, including our veterinarian panel. Our vet panel is one of a handful in the continental U.S. and consists of more than 40,000 highly engaged, pre-screened veterinarians who provide critical insights. With industry knowledge, innovative tools, and purchasing power, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients.

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