ROCKVILLE, Md. — “Make way for Boomer pet owners,” writes Daniel Granderson, communications manager and associate marketing analyst at Packaged Facts. While high pet ownership among Millennials, which includes 25- to 39-year-olds, seems like a given, Baby Boomers were the only generation to have experienced an increase between 2008 and 2018.

Boomers, age 55 to 74, saw a 4% increase in pet ownership, while pet ownership among 18- to 39-year-olds dipped 2% and among 40- to 54-year-olds remained essentially unchanged at 64%.

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

Millennials continue to spend the most on their pets than any other age group, with 18- to 37-year-olds spending an average of $16.6 billion annually, according to Packaged Facts.

“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,” Granderson said. He cites Simmons National Consumer Study, saying that Millennials are more likely to have purchased pet beds, feeding supplies, carriers, crates and kennels, as well as grooming supplies and toys in the past 12 months compared to older pet owners.

Granderson suggests, based on the data, that pet product brands could tap into an unexpected market by catering and marketing to pet owners age 55 and older.

“Between 2008 and 2018 the number of pet owners in the 55-and-over age group grew by 11.6 million, while pet owners under the age of 40 increased by only 4.1 million and the population of pet owners in the 40- to 54-year-old age group declined by 2.9 million,” Granderson pointed out.

Further, the number of dog owners age 55 and up increased 5% between 2008 and 2018, and the number of cat owners in this age group increased 6%. Overall, pet ownership increased 8% within this cohort.

The Baby Boomer generation specifically saw increased dog ownership by 4%. An estimated 1.4 million Boomers own puppies younger than one year old, and roughly 5.2 million are expected to own dogs between the ages of one and three, according to Packaged Facts.

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

These findings are based in Packaged Facts’ report, “Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S.: Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets, 3rd Edition.”

Keep up with the latest pet food trends on our Trends page.