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Report: Pet Marketers Might Want to Focus More on Baby Boomers


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Benjamin Balazs from Pixabay

While many marketers give special attention to millennial pet owners (25- to 39-year-olds), research by Packaged Facts suggests that substantial opportunities among baby boomers are hiding in plain sight.

“Over the past decade, the 55- to 74-year-old age group (baby boomers) is the only segment to have experienced an increase in the pet ownership rate,” officials said. “Between 2008 and 2018 the percent of boomers owning a pet grew from 50 percent to 54 percent. At the same time, the pet ownership rate among 18- to 39-year-olds declined from 63 percent to 61 percent, and the percent of 40- to 54-year-olds owning pets remained the same (64 percent versus 64 percent).”

Although pet ownership historically has dropped significantly as adults turn 70, Packaged Facts officials said that it is noteworthy that during the past decade the percent of 70- to 74-year-olds with pets increased from 41 percent to 45 percent.

“As a result of the outsize significance of the boomer cohort and growing tendency of American adults to maintain a bond with pets as they age, boomers and seniors accounted for the vast majority of the growth in the population of pet owners over the past decade,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, which is headquartered in Rockville, Md.

Dog owners in the boomer generation tend to hold on to canine companionship as they have aged, according to the report. The percent of those in this age segment owning dogs increased from 34 percent to 38 percent. Compared to their predecessors in the 55- to 74-year-old group a decade ago, all age segments in the boomer generation demonstrate a higher propensity to own dogs, the report further noted.

Boomers also continue to acquire puppies as they age. Packaged Facts officials estimated that 1.4 million 55- to 74-year-olds own puppies and other dogs less than one year old. An additional 5.2 million boomers have dogs between one and three years old.

Millennials, however, are still significant spenders on pet products and services, according to officials.

“The 37 million millennials who own pets constitute 27 percent of all pet owners,” Sprinkle said. “Millennials are an especially important consumer group for segments of the pet industry marketing products and services to owners of pets other than dogs or cats. Millennials make up one in three owners of pets such as fish, birds, rabbits, gerbils and hamsters.”

Another reason why millennial pet owners constitute a key pet market consumer segment, according to officials, is that compared to pet owners in older age groups, 25- to 39-year-old pet owners are more likely to have younger pets that they have acquired recently. The combination of younger, recently acquired dogs or cats leads younger owners to have an immediate need for and a higher propensity to purchase pet products of all kinds.”

Taking all of these figures translates into consumer spending patterns, officials added.

“Households headed by boomers account for 33 percent of all households and 40 percent of aggregate expenditures on pets ($34.4 billion),” officials said. “Together, boomers and their older counterparts in their mid-70s and over account for 47 percent of aggregate expenditures on pets.”

 

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