How Gen Z and Millennial Pet Owners Differ in Shopping for Their Pets

Millennial pet owners routinely mark their pets' birthdays, include them in holiday celebrations, take them on shopping trips and bring them to work, according to a report by market research firm Packaged Facts. Millennial pet owners, especially those in higher-income brackets, also represent a pet market consumer segment offering exceptional opportunities for marketers of pet products and services, according to the Packaged Facts report Gen Z and Millennials as Pet Market Consumers: Dogs, Cats, Other Pets. In fact, Packaged Facts National Pet Owner Survey data indicate that millennial pet owners with a household income of $75,000 or higher are more than twice as likely as all other pet owners to have spent $50 or more on pet products of any kind in the last 30 days.

However, the future of the pet industry in America lies not only in the hands of millennials but also depends on their younger counterparts in gen Z, according to Packaged Facts. The vanguard of gen Z is now in its late teens and early 20s. These adult members of gen Z have been digitally fluent for nearly their whole lives and are used to being inundated by waves of words, data and images on small screens. Because they are adept at filtering through masses of information and detecting hyped or outright false claims, marketing experts tend to view gen Z as being less trusting of brands than any previous generation.

Packaged Facts National Pet Owner Survey data hint at and confirm some of the challenges facing pet product marketers in building trust with gen Z pet owners. For example, compared to millennial pet owners, gen Z pet owners are less likely to trust the quality of pet foods produced by larger companies such as general-market brand leaders. This finding may simply reflect gen Z's overall loss of trust in large corporations and governmental institutions in today's chaotic world in this era of "fake news," according to Packaged Facts.

Packaged Facts also found that the attitudes of gen Z pet owners toward pet products produced by smaller companies are more complex and, perhaps, surprising. Gen Z pet owners are as likely as millennial pet owners to trust the quality of pet foods produced by smaller companies such as regional or family-owned companies. However, they are less likely to trust the pet foods produced by smaller natural/organic product companies. This finding may be related to the fact that gen Z pet owners are less likely than millennial pet owners to consider natural/organic products to be safer or better than standard national-brand products. The data support an overall conclusion that many gen Z pet owners believe that claims made by natural/organic pet product marketers are no more trustworthy than those made by marketers of general-market pet products. 

"Pet marketers must remember that these younger adult pet owners tend to be attracted to unique brands and stories," said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. "To reach millennial and gen Z consumers, one truly must stand out from the proverbial crowd."

Gen Z and Millennials as Pet Market Consumers: Dogs, Cats, Other Pets analyzes and tabulates what makes gen Z and millennial pet owners unique, highlighting opportunities for pet product and service marketers to most profitably appeal to the 57 million pet owners in this 18- to 39-year-old age group.

Additional information about Gen Z and Millennials as Pet Market Consumers: Dogs, Cats, Other Pets, including purchase options, the abstract, table of contents, and related reports can be found here.