Based on the latest data from the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 85% of pet owners spent more or the same amount on their pets post-COVID-19.1 In the National Pet Owners Survey, which APPA now conducts annually, pet owners were asked, “How
has the current economy influenced your spending on your pet/pet supplies in the past 12 months?”
39% of pet owners reported spending more on their pets compared to the prior year (an 11% increase over 2020 data)1
46% of pet owners reported spending about the same amount on their pets compared to prior years1
While the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a deep recession, the recovery of the U.S. economy has been faster than with prior economic depressions, such as the Great Recession.2 When facing economic uncertainty some may speculate that pet-related spending would decrease, however, pet owners reportedly opted to spend more on their pets during this time of recovery.
Why are pet owners spending more on their pets after COVID?
Let’s consider some of the reasons why pet owners may spend more on their pets. To gain insight on this trend, we can look to APPA’s Strategic Insights report for additional pet owner behavior analysis. In the report, APPA shares three reasons pet owners are looking to purchase, adopt, or foster post-COVID – all three of which were significantly different compared to pre-2020 data.3 It follows that pet-owner motivations for adding pets to their family are likely aligned with motivations to spend more on their pets.
Pet Owners are Spending More Time at Home
Firstly, during the period of recovery between 2020 and 2022, U.S. pet owners were spending more time at home. 48% of new pet owners cited spending more time at home as the reason for adding a pet to their household.3 Quarantine, social distancing, school closures, and remote working policies all contributed to American households staying home rather than working and socializing out of the home. While spending more time at home, pets received more attention and quality time with their owners post-pandemic. With this increased time together, pet owners may be more apt to seek out new products to care for, entertain, comfort, and exercise their pets.
Families are Opting to Become Pet Owners
47% of new pet owners cited their families wanting a pet as a reason for adding a pet to their family post-COVID.3 The excitement of a family bringing home a new pet is bound to motivate additional spending. With each member of the family adding pet supplies to their carts to welcome their new pet to the family, overall spending on pet care would increase.
Solo Pet Owners are Seeking Companionship
25% of new pet owners post-COVID said they were seeking companionship due to being home alone.3 Post-COVID hybrid and remote working conditions can reduce the amount of daily face-to-face social interaction that single people have access to, so pets help fill that void by providing comfort and connection. Adding a pet to the household also creates new opportunities for social interaction, like spending time at dog parks and meet-up groups. These additional pet-centric activities may lead to additional spending on pet-related supplies. Further, the new solo pet owners entering the market likely have different spending habits and budgetary concerns than larger households. When your pet is your number one companion, spending on pet supplies and pet care can be prioritized over other types of spending.
Discover More Pet Owner Spending Trends with APPA’s Strategic Insights Report
Access more detailed data on pet owner consumer behavior when you access APPA’s report, Strategic Insights for the Pet Industry: Pet Owners 2023 & Beyond for economic insights, pet owner spending habits, and pet ownership trends.
1. American Pet Products Association. (publication). Strategic Insights for the Pet Industry: Pet Owners 2023 & Beyond (pp. 31).
2. Pandemic Recession Much Deeper But Shorter Than Great Recession. Center on Budget & Policy Priorities.
3. American Pet Products Association. (publication). Strategic Insights for the Pet Industry: Pet Owners 2023 & Beyond (pp. 24).