Pet spending in America has never been higher according to the American Pet Products Association. Spokesman Bob Vetere said that spending on pets in the U.S hit $55.7 billion in 2013. The figures, a 4.5 percent increase from 2012, were announced at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida. It was positive news for an industry that has grown 4-6 percent every year since 1996 when the association began keeping figures.
Looking at the wealth of pet products available to buy for the owners of America’s 83.3 million dogs and 96.6 million cats, the figures are anything but surprising. Things have certainly come a long way from the days when scratching posts, coats and squeaky toys were seen as groundbreaking pet products. Slopmats, cooling beds, and tennis ball holders were some of the products premiered at last year’s expo. Slopmats help keep your floors clean from messy eating pets. Cooling beds keep pets cool when they are getting some rest. And tennis ball holders keep a pet’s tennis balls nice and clean, out of the way of dog’s teeth.
Other products that premiered were stick toys that were safer than real sticks, maze feeding bowls that kept dogs from eating their food too fast and getting sick, and snuggle beds which dogs can get lost and snuggly in. With snuggly beds for example costing from $55-$75, and with so many other products available for pet owners to splash out on, it comes as no surprise that 2013 saw pet spending in the U.S reach an all-time high.
In a year in which pet spending has never been higher, it is food which pet-owning Americans are spending the most on. A total of $21.6 billion was spent on food, much of it on healthier, more expensive snacks. Vetere pointed out that baby-boomers are now looking to pets for the affection they received from their children. So, it seems that as the baby-boomers whose children have left home are living longer, they want their pet’s life-spans to increase, too. And, more and more scientific research suggests that having pets is good for human’s health, longevity and happiness levels, adding further incentive for baby-boomers, and pet owners in general, to buy their pets more happiness inducing, health-increasing products. Food has, though, always topped the spending category when it comes to pets, Vetere explained, going on to point out that just as human’s diet trends develop, so do their pets.
Behind food, pet owners spent $14.4 billion on veterinary care, $2.2 billion on live animal purchases, and $13.1 billion on over the counter medications and supplies. Another $4.4 billion was spent on other services including grooming, training, dog-sitting and boarding. Other services saw an increase of 6.1 percent while live animal purchases fell, except on cats and dogs. Vetere said he expected live animal purchases to fall by a further 2 percent next year.
Pet spending has never been higher in the US, and Vetere said it will grow even more. Close to $60 billion, in fact. The Global Pets Expo will certainly give pet owners a chance to see what products they can buy for their beloved pets and keep the pet industry as healthy as the food they give their pets, and themselves, to eat.
Commentary by Christian Deverille