Humanization of pets on the rise in the US

To ring in National Pet Month in the United States (May), we unveil some fresh data showing just how much we love our furry friends.

With pet ownership in the US higher than ever thanks to the pandemic pet boom (19% of Americans reported getting a new pet during the pandemic), we wanted to dig into how we feel about the four-legged members of our households.

We polled 400 US working-age pet owners to see what kinds of pets they have, how they like to treat them and how they tend to shop for them (you can view the research here).  

It’s raining cats and dogs

When it comes to what kinds of pets Americans own, dogs and cats reign supreme at 75% and 49% respectively. In regards to how many total pets they have in their household, most report having a single pet to their name (28%) with two pets following close behind (24%) and three pets thereafter (12%).

Ownership of other domestic pets is much less common. Americans aren’t nearly as keen to care for fish (7%), birds (7%), reptiles (6%), rabbits (4%), rodents (3%), or horses/donkeys (1%). 

Pets deserve birthdays, nice food, and outings too

The research also suggests that pets are seamlessly woven into family life, with many Americans going the extra mile to make them feel included and well taken care of. 

  • A good night’s rest – 57% of Americans don’t subject their pet to the floor or a cage and let them sleep in their own bed.
  • Eating good, staying well – 51% purchase premium pet food, 33% give their pets vitamins & supplements, 21% cook for their pets, 18% have some kind of pet medical insurance, and 15% are signed up for a treat subscription.  
  • Joining in on the fun – 48% buy birthday and Christmas presents for their pets and 34% take their pets along with them wherever they can. 

The ecommerce boom hasn’t hit pet shops as of yet

Of those polled, the majority of Americans tend to spend between $26-$50 (30%) on their pets monthly. This is followed by $76-$100 (19%), $51-$75 (18%), and one in ten (10%) spend up to $100-$125. And despite the pandemic ecommerce boom, most pet owners still prefer to frequent the pet store or supermarket to get everything from food, treats, and equipment. 

  • Food – For most Americans, food is a weekly (39%) or monthly (35%) purchase, with the majority preferring to get it in a pet store (35%) or supermarket (34%) and only 13% buying it online. 
  • Treats – Treats are purchased with a bit less frequency with 24% shopping weekly and 34% shopping for them monthly. Most also tend to prefer to snag them at the pet store (42%) or supermarket (26%), with only 15% heading to online retailers. 
  • Equipment – Equipment such as toys, leashes, cages, and beyond, is more of a monthly (23%) or every few months (25%) kind of shopping habit, with most still hitting the pet store (40%) to make these purchases. Meanwhile, 18% go online and 16% visit the supermarket for pet equipment. 

Jeremy King, Attest CEO and Founder, says: “While monthly spending on pets isn’t astronomically high for most Americans, the energy spent doting on their pets is the real opportunity for those in the pet goods space.

It can be safely assumed that pet ownership is more of a lifestyle than a mere expense for American pet owners. This is particularly highlighted in this research as it found that Americans love to make their pets feel a part of the family, including them in celebrations and outings. For those in the pet goods space, the data presents major opportunities especially for bricks and mortar outlets given that the majority of pet owners make their purchases there.”

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Bel Booker

Senior Content Writer 

Bel has a background in newspaper and magazine journalism but loves to geek-out with Attest consumer data to write in-depth reports. Inherently nosy, she's endlessly excited to pose questions to Attest's audience of 100m global consumers. She also likes cake.

See all articles by Bel