STAMFORD, CONN. — The American Pet Products Association (APPA) officially released its 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey, a biennial survey compiling data on pet ownership and purchasing behaviors. This year’s survey accounted for pandemic-era trends and impacts to the pet care industry.

Overall, pet ownership has increased in the United States. APPA estimates 70% of households own at least one pet, up from 67% reported in its previous survey. Millennials remain the largest cohort of US pet owners, with 32% owning at least one pet, followed by Baby Boomers (27%) and Gen X pet owners (24%).

The association shared some key findings, including an increase in pet spending, new pet ownership trends, an increase in online pet product shopping, and a general willingness among consumers to pay more for sustainable, responsibly sourced products.

“For more than 30 years, APPA has been collecting and reporting consumer insight data through our National Pet Owners Survey, and each year we aim to enhance this industry resource,” said Steve King, president and chief executive officer of APPA. “The newest edition of the survey is the most comprehensive yet and we look forward to arming our members and the broader pet care community with the information needed to make strategic, informed business decisions that will help advance our already burgeoning industry.”

The premiumization of pet products continues to drive dollar sales in this market, with 35% of pet owners reporting they spent more on pet food, wellness-related products and other pet supplies over the last 12 months than in previous years.

Additionally, 86% of pet owners reported shopping online for pet products, up nearly 20% from the previous year. Roughly 60% of pet owners predominantly shopped for pet care products at brick-and-mortar stores pre-pandemic, which dropped to 41% in 2020. Forty-six percent of respondents said they prefer purchasing online and having the products delivered straight to their homes.

With or without the pandemic, consumer preferences for ethically sourced, environmentally friendly products are still on the rise. In this recent study, 51% of pet owners said they are willing to pay more for these kinds of pet care products.

Another pandemic-era trend noted in the survey was an increased amount of time spent at home due to widespread lockdown orders, which led to 14% of respondents acquiring a new pet during the pandemic.

These new and existing pet owners acquired all kinds of companions, but 47% brought a new dog into the home, and 40% acquired a new cat. Of that 14%, one-fourth said their reason for acquiring a new pet was directly influenced by COVID-19.

Lastly, the market for pet insurance has nearly doubled among cat owners in the United States. APPA reported pet insurance purchases among both dog and cat owners increased over the last year.

APPA has been conducting this survey since 1988. The 2021-2022 survey was conducted by The Engine Group, and included a total of 9,206 responses from pet owners across the United States.

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