2015 U.S. Pet Spending by Racial/Ethnic Groups

Over 88% of the $67.75B that we spent on our companion animals in 2015 was done by 69.9% of the 128.4 million financially independent Consumer Units. These “majority” CU’s are White, Not Hispanic. That means that the 38.4 million CU’s – 30.1%, which are Racial or Ethnic minorities, generated less than 12% of Total Pet Spending.

In our earlier demographic analyses, we noted specific instances of minority “under performance”. In this report, we will drill deeper to get more specifics on the Pet Spending by Minority Groups – Hispanics (All Races), African Americans and Asians. The U.S. is growing more ethnically diverse every day so this is a situation and an opportunity which needs to be investigated.

Note: All the numbers are calculated from or taken directly from the Annual US BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Let’s get started by looking at the Racial/Ethnic make-up of the U.S.

  • The White, Not Hispanic group also includes Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.
  • 2015 is the first year that the White, Not Hispanic group fell below 70% of the total CU’s
  • Asian share of CU’s was down slightly.
  • The biggest growth in number of CU’s came from Whites, although it was only 4K more than Total Minorities.
  • African Americans are increasing at a rate more than double the White Population.
  • The Hispanic growth is spectacular. Hispanic CU’s are increasing 3½ times faster than Whites.

Now let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that we have found to be important in pet spending behavior.

  • CU Size – Hispanics have by far the largest CU’s, 30+% higher than average. However, in 2015, smaller CU’s, 2-3 people, generated the most spending and had the biggest increase largely due to the Food Upgrade by the Boomers.
  • # Children under 18 – In 2014, CU’s with more than 1 child bought the most pet products. In 2015, it was the older age groups with a child over 18. Note: With twice as many children per CU than Whites, the Hispanics are sure to gain in share of CU’s, even without immigration.
  • # Earners– It is more likely that all the adults work in a Hispanic family. With twice as many kids, this could be tough.
  • Homeownership – Homeowners account for 80+% of all Pet Spending. The percentage of Hispanics and African Americans that own homes is 40% less than Whites. Both groups are also twice as likely to live in a Center City than in the suburbs. Asians are also likely to be Center City dwellers. The rate of pet ownership is lower in Center Cities.
  • Education was also an important factor in 2015 spending, especially regarding the Food Upgrade and the Veterinary segment. The Asians are the leaders, while Hispanics have the lowest percentage of after High School education.

Next, we’ll compare each to the National Avg in Income, Spending, Pet Spending and Pet Share of Total $pending.

CU National Averages: Income – $69,627; Total Spending – $55,978;

Pet Spending – $528.17; Pet Share – 0.944%

  • Asian Americans make and spend the most money…but not on their pets. This may be due to cultural differences.
  • African Americans and Hispanics have lower incomes and their overall spending is relatively in line. However, they spend significantly less on their pets. This is especially true of African Americans and indicates a significantly lower rate of pet ownership. A consumer survey from HUD on emergency disaster planning found this number to be 24%.
  • The spending of White Americans is very much tied to income, except where their pets are concerned, then…$$$.

It’s time to look at actual Dollars Spent. We’ll review the spending on Total Pet and each industry segment in terms of share of sales as well as a 3 year history of each of the Racial/Ethnic Minority segments.

In the graph showing market share of Total Pet, as well as those that follow, the overwhelming dominance of White Americans in terms of spending on their pets is all too apparent.

  • Performance = Share of Spending/Share CU’s: Hispanic – 47%; Asians – 45%; African Americans – 29%
    • This reinforces the probable low level of Pet ownership among African Americans.
    • With the exception of a big drop in Total Pet Spending by African Americans, all other groups showed an increase.
    • While the $ amount is small, the 18.7% increase by Asians could be significant. We’ll see where it comes from.
  • Spending History – From 2013 to 2015, U.S. Total Pet Spending increased $10.0B (+ 17.3%). During the same period, Minority Spending fell $0.75B (-8.6%).
    • Overall, Total Minority groups showed a decline each year.
    • African Americans had a big increase in 2014, but then “gave it back” in 2015. They are basically even with 2013.
    • Hispanics had a huge decline in 2014, but made a partial comeback in 2015. However, it was not enough. They are $0.89B (17.7%) down from 2013 spending.
    • Asian spending dipped in 2014 but bounced back in 2015. They are 10% “ahead” of their 2013 total.
    • Without the two massive drops, Hispanic in 2014 and African Americans in 2015, the numbers would be positive.

Bottom Line: Pet Spending is not making progress with Minority Groups. Now, the individual segments…First Food.

  • Performance = Share of Spending/Share CU’s: Hispanics – 49.0%; Asians – 46.1%; African Americans – 27.0%.
  • All groups had an increase in Pet Food Spending in 2015. The increases by Asians and African Americans were especially significant. The Asians increase may be a food upgrade, but both are maintaining and possibly adding pets.
  • Spending History – From 2013 to 2015, U.S. Pet Food Spending increased $6.54B (+ 28.5%). During the same period, Minority Spending increased $0.13B (+3.9%)
    • Asians are the only group with an increase in both years.
    • This “need” segment doesn’t reflect the overall U.S. growth but it is at least relatively stable. Now, Supplies.

  • Performance = Share of Spending/Share CU’s: Hispanics – 69.4%; Asians – 38.0%; African Americans – 28.0%.
    • Hispanics were one of the few Demographic segments in any category to have an increase in Supplies spending.
    • The decreases from Asians and African Americans were small in $, but a 20% decrease is still significant.
  • Spending History – From 2013 to 2015, U.S. Pet Supplies Spending fell $0.07B (- 0.5%) – Essentially Flat. During the same period, Minority Spending increased $0.16B (+8.2%)
    • Hispanics’ consistent growth in Supplies in conjunction with stable Food Spending is a good Pet Parenting sign.
    • The Supplies Segment is largely “discretionary” so spending is often impacted in groups with financial pressures.
    • Asians have the least income pressure so it makes a small spending cut due to a Food Upgrade more plausible.

Now, we will turn to the Service Segments. We’ll begin Non-Vet Pet Services.

  • Performance = Share of Spending/Share CU’s: Hispanics – 49.3%; Asians – 45.3%; African Americans – 26.7%.
    • This segment is generally discretionary spending so income and convenience generally matter.
    • For the Hispanics, with big families and everyone working, the convenience of services becomes a real “need”.
  • Spending History – From 2013 to 2015, U.S. Pet Services Spending increased $0.98B (+ 18.6%). During the same period, Minority Spending increased $0.03B (+4.2%)
    • Growth is minimal and considering the increase in CU’s, all groups are losing market share. Now, Veterinary.

  • Performance = Share of Spending/Share CU’s: Asians – 50.9%; African Americans – 32.2%; Hispanics – 23.4%.
    • Income and education are big factors in Veterinary Spending. Whites and Asians had the only increases.
  • Spending History – From 2013 to 2015, U.S. Veterinary Spending rose $2.56B (+17.6%). During the same period, Minority Spending decreased $1.05B (-39.6%).
    • This Demographic category illustrates the impact of the ongoing high inflation in this segment, especially among the Hispanic group. Financial pressures forced them to make a choice. They chose to spend their Pet $ on Food, Supplies and even Services at the expense of Veterinary.


One thing that we should always keep in mind is that all these numbers are averages. These Racial/Ethnic Groups are made up of individuals and are represented in virtually all Demographic Category Segments. Examples: 9% of all people with a Master’s Degree or higher are African Americans. 5% of the CU’s with an income above $200K are Hispanic.

However, overall, these rapidly growing racial/ethnic groups are not keeping pace with U.S. Pet Spending. In fact, they are losing ground…at an alarming rate. Consider this: Minority spending on Pet Products, just Food & Supplies, went from $5.3B in 2013 to $5.6B in 2015 – a $0.3B (5.0%) increase. At the same time, the number of minority CU’s increased 4.9%. So, all of this increase essentially came just from having more CU’s. At the same time, the White segment had a $6.2B (19.0%) spending increase with only a 1.1% increase in CU’s. The Result: The Total Minority Group’s market share of Pet Products spending fell 10% in just two years, even with a 5% increase in spending.

Asian Americans come from a variety of cultures, each with their own history regarding Pet Ownership. They certainly have the income and recent increases in Pet Food spending indicate the number of Asian Pet Parents may be growing.

Hispanics and African Americans are the two fastest growing groups and they share certain key characteristics. Their income is 20-30% below the National Average. Homeownership is 25-33% less. They are more likely to live in Center City areas. All these factors tend to reduce Pet Spending and ownership. The African American group has the lowest numbers in these measurements and a low percentage of Pet Households. The Hispanic group has another characteristic which is relevant to spending – kids. Having twice as many children under 18 per CU can only add to their financial pressures.

Most of the factors reducing Pet Spending are societal rather than just industry issues. However, the Pet Parenting desire still appears to be strong in these groups. We see it in Hispanic Spending on Food and especially Supplies. Also, despite having the lowest average income, African Americans still spend more on Veterinary than any other minority. The Pet Industry should recognize the situation as both a challenge and an opportunity. We need to do what we can to encourage and facilitate Pet Parenting in these groups.  It will pay “dividends” to everyone.

2015 Total Pet Spending Was $67.75B – The Demographic “Winners & Losers”

Consumer spending on Pets in 2015 totaled $67.75B, an increase of $3.43B (5.3%) over 2014. In our last report, we established who was doing most of the spending (60>80+%) in the major demographic categories. In this report, we will drill deeper into the data to determine:

  • Which segments performed best…and worst in each demographic category
  • Which segments had the biggest gain or loss* in Total Pet Spending $. (*or smallest gain)
  • Some non-winners whose performance merits “Honorable Mention”
  • The “Ultimate” Pet Spending Consumer Unit in 2015


We’ll get started with the best “Performing” segments. To determine a segment’s performance we simply compare their share of the overall Pet Spending to their share of the total CU’s. (Financially independent Consumer Units) Example: If a segment spends 15% of all Pet $ and has 10% of all the CU’s, then their performance rating is 15/10 = 150% – very good. If their share of spending was only 5%, then their performance rating is 5/10 = 50% – not so good. This method puts every segment on a level playing field…then, may the best one win. Once again, all numbers in this report were calculated from data provided by the US BLS in their Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Here are the best and worst performers for 11 demographic categories, ranked by performance – from high to low.

Most of the “winners and losers” are the same as last year.  Changes from 2014 are “boxed”. We should note:

  • The average winning performance is 8% higher than last year and the average” loser” is 2% lower so the differences are becoming more extreme.
  • The influence of the “older” Baby Boomers’ upgrade in Food is apparent across several demographic categories
    • Age – This year age has more impact. It is ranked 6th in terms of winning percentage. Last year it was 10th.
    • # in CU – Last year the winning number was 3 people. This year it is down to 2
    • CU Composition – Last year it was “all married couples with children”. This year, it’s those with a child over 18.
  • Occupation – The Self-employed, which always rank high, had a big spending increase in all categories. Managers & Professionals dropped out of the top spot in 2015 primarily because of a big decrease in Veterinary Spending.
  • Race/Ethnic – In 2014, Asians had the lowest spending performance. In 2015, African American bought 10% more food but their spending was down significantly in all other segments which resulted in an overall decrease of 27%.
  • Region – The South actually had the largest increase in $ but it couldn’t keep pace with an increase of 1.9M CUs.

Now let’s truly “Show you the money”. In the next chart, we’ll look at the biggest $ changes in spending from 2014. As a rule there are both positive and negative situations. However, in 1 category every segment spent more in 2015.

In this chart, we truly see the impact of the Boomer’s food upgrade on Pet spending and how 2015 was radically different from 2014. There are new winners and losers in virtually every category. In a few cases they just switched positions. 2015’s winner was 2014’s loser and vice versa. We’ll take a look at one demographic category at a time.

  • Education – Pet Parents are widespread across all education levels. You can see that from the 2014 winner.
    • Winner – College Grads – Pet Spending: $38.93B; Up $6.41B (+19.7%)
      • 2014: < Less than College grad
    • Loser – High School Grads or less – Pet Spending: $10.36B; Down 3.08B (-22.9%)
      • 2014: BA/BS Degrees
    • Comment – In 2015 Education level seemed to truly matter. Perhaps the value of upgrading to the nutritionally superior, but higher priced foods, as well as the need for regular Vet visits was more apparent. With generally lower income, the big drop in the less educated group could have been a result of increased financial pressures.
  • Age – This category had the 2nd biggest influence of any category. In 2014 it was ranked 9th.
    • Winner – 45> yrs – Pet Spending: $47.92B; Up $5.08B (+11.8%)
      • 2014: 65+ yrs
    • Loser – 25>44 yrs – Pet Spending: $18.15B; Down $1.99B (-9.9%)
      • 2014: 45>54 yrs
    • Comment: This category most shows the influence of the Boomers since they are all in the winning segment. The 25>44 yr age group is at the peak of their family responsibilities and feeling financial pressure. It also appears that the 25>34 group were the first to upgrade their Pet Food in 2014, then backed off in 2015…probably price.
  • # in CU – In 2014 all CU sizes had an increase in Pet Products Spending. That was not the case in 2015.
    • Winner – 2 People – Pet Spending: $29.06B; Up $5.0B (+20.8%)
      • 2014: 2+ People
    • Loser – 4+ People – Pet Spending: $12.96B; Down $2.87B (-18.1%)
      • 2014: 1 Person
    • Comment: In 2014, more people meant more spending. In 2015 it was the opposite story. Only CU’s with 3 or fewer people had an increase. Financial pressures are once again the likely cause for the spending decrease in the larger CUs. Of note, a 2 person CU is very common in the older age groups and in the under 25.
  • Race/Ethnic – The vast majority of Spending comes from the White, Not Hispanic group.
    • Winner – White, Not Hispanic – Pet Spending: $59.81B; Up $3.87B (+6.9%)
      • 2014: White. Not Hispanic
    • Loser – African American – Pet Spending: $2.45B; Down $0.93B (-27.5%)
      • 2014: Hispanic
    • Comment – Hispanic and Asian spending was up. African Americans had the only decrease.
  • Housing – Homeowners dominate. Last year all groups were up. In 2015 Renter’s spending fell due to Veterinary.
    • Winner – Homeowner, No Mtge – Spending: $18.4B; Up $3.69B (+25.1%)
      • 2014: Homeowner w/Mtge
    • Loser – Renter – Pet Spending: $11.82B; Down $0.74B (-5.9%)
      • 2014: Renter
    • Comment – Usual winner is Homeowner w/Mtge. Those with No Mortgage are usually older and often retired.
  • Income – Increasing Income usually increases spending…but not always. In 2015, Middle income spending dropped.
    • Winner – Over $100K – Pet Spending: $27.12B; Up $3.57B (+15.2%)
      • 2014: Over $70K
    • Loser – $50 to $99K – Pet Spending: $19.95B; Down $1.64B (-7.6%)
      • 2014: Under $30K
    • Comment – The over $100K segment had a huge increase. However, the <$50K group was also up $1.5B (+8.0%).
  • CU Composition – You will see a strong interrelationship between this group and the # Earners and Age groups.
    • Winner – Married Couple Only – $21.69; Up $3.47B (+19.0%)
      • 2014: All Married Couples
    • Loser – Married, with all children <18 – $10.4B; Down $2.8B (-21.2%)
      • 2014: Singles
    • Comment – The Married Couple only group tends to be under 25 or over 55. Both of these groups had a big lift from upgrading Food in 2015. The Married w/children <18 drop was primarily in Food & Supplies due to financial pressures. We also saw this in the 25>44 age group, which is the age range for the vast majority of this group.
  • # Earners – Usually more earners means a higher income and more Spending.
    • Winner – 2 Earners – Pet Spending: $25.88B; Up $2.76B (+11.9%)
      • 2014: 2+ in CU w/1 Earner
    • Loser – 2+ in CU with 1 Earner – Pet Spending: $14.18B; Down $1.12B (-7.3%)
      • 2014: 2 Earners
    • Comment – In this category we are seeing the impact of a couple of trends. The huge 2014 lift in Food and subsequent drop in 2015 by the 25>34 yr olds due to financial pressures and the Boomer Food upgrade in 2015. Note: In the 25>34 group one person often suspends employment for a time to devote themselves to child care.
  • Occupation – Pet Parents are widespread across occupations. Spending depends both on income and commitment.
    • Winner – Retired – Pet Spending: $13.14B; Up $2.57B (+24.3%)
      • 2014: Retired
    • Loser – Operators & Laborers – Pet Spending: $2.76B; Down $0.78B (-22.1%)
      • 2014: Tech/Sales/Clerical
    • Comment – The Retired group wins 2 years in a row with big lifts in Food and Veterinary. This is not just the Boomers. The Silent Generation is a big part of this. All occupations bought more food but only Managers & Professionals had an increase in Supplies. The overall decrease by Operators/Laborers was due to a big drop in Veterinary spending.
  • Region – Regions vary in size and demographics like race/ethnicity and income. Plus, the South is growing rapidly.
    • Winner – South – Pet Spending: $24.28B; Up $1.75B (+7.8%)              
      • 2014: Midwest
    • Loser – Midwest – Pet Spending: $14.84B; Down $0.69B (-4.4%)
      • 2014: South
    • Comment – All regions had a lift in Food, especially the West and South. Quite frankly, the South “won” because of an increase of 1.9M CU’s. The Midwest was driven down by a big drop in Supplies after a big lift in 2014.
  • Area Type – All areas showed an almost equal increase in $.
    • Winner – Rural (Pop <2500) – Pet Spending: $8.57B; Up $1.23B (+16.8%)
      • 2014: Center City
    • Loser – Suburban – Pet Spending: $43.74B; Up $1.08B (+2.5%)
      • 2014: Suburbs
    • Comment – All areas had an increase in Food and a drop in Supplies. The largest segment, Suburban, has been last for 2 years in a row.

We’ve now seen the best overall performers and the “winners” and “losers” in terms of increase/decrease in Total Pet Spending $ for 11 Demographic Categories. Not every good performer can be a winner but some of these “hidden” segments should be recognized for their outstanding performance. They don’t win an award but they deserve….

Honorable Mention

  • Age – <25 yrs – Pet Spending: $1.31B; Up $0.3B (+25.8%)
    • Comment – This small group is just getting started with life and Pet Parenting. Their percentage of increase was the largest of any age group. They had a huge increase in the average CU spending for Food as well as increases in both Supplies and Services, so they are adding pets and even buying upgraded Food. The only reason that their increase in $ wasn’t greater is that there was a 9% drop in the number of CU’s.
  • Race/Ethnic – Asian – Pet Spending: $1.34B; Up $0.2B (+18.7%)
    • Comment – This small group has the CU highest income but perennially has the lowest average spending on companion animals. With strong increases in Food & Veterinary Spending they moved out of last place in 2015.
  • Income – <$30K – Pet Spending: $11.3B; Up $1.67B (+17.3%)
    • Comment – Much of this segment consists of older and younger consumers. With all segments but Supplies showing an increase, this is evidence that spending on our Pet “Children” is not just about income.
  • # of Earners – No Earners – Pet Spending: $11.45B; Up $1.43B (+14.3%)
    • Comment- The vast majority of this group are retired. Their 14.3% increase was the largest of any segment in the category. Still more proof that the motivation for increased Pet Spending is not limited to increased income.
  • Region – Northeast – Pet Spending: $11.82B; Up $1.3B (+12.0%)
    • Comment – This densely populated area benefited from a strong performance by the Center City areas, which even had an increase in Supplies. Their 12% overall gain was by far the best of any Region.


2015 was a year of extremes which is best illustrated by the situation in 2 Industry Segments – Food and Supplies.

  1. Plus: Food Spending ↑$5.4B. The Baby Boomers upgraded their Food and their Food spending went up $5.8B.
  2. Minus: Supplies Spending fell almost across the board, primarily due to a drop in purchase frequency– ↓$2.1B

Spending in the other 2 segments basically cancelled each other out. Services continued their steady growth ↑$0.58B, driven primarily by convenience in the under 55 age group, but with income always a factor. Veterinary spending was down ↓$0.47B and continued to be negatively impacted by a high inflation rate. This was somewhat mitigated by the strong commitment from the oldest Americans to the care of their companion animals.

You have seen the individual demographic winners and losers. However, when you step back it often seems to be 2 ends against the middle. Let’s look at what that means in terms of 2 important demographic measures – Income and Age:

  • Income: The increase is coming from the Over $100K group and the Under $50K group. It is middle income America, $50>99K, with the biggest financial pressures of housing, children and career that is feeling the pinch.
  • Age: The increase is coming from the >45 and the <25 groups. The older crowd has both high and low incomes but smaller families. The <25 group generally has lower incomes but also fewer responsibilities. The middle 25>44 age group had a significant drop in spending, but they are building careers, buying houses and taking care of most of the under 18 children in America. Their income is growing but not as fast as their responsibilities.
  • One other trend should be noted – Education: This came to the forefront in 2015. It may be that the better educated were quicker to see the value of the upgrading their pet food – at a substantially higher price.


The “Ultimate” Pet Spending Consumer Unit consists of 3 people – a married couple with an 18+ year old child, still living at home. Mom and Dad are in the 55 to 64 age range. They are White, but not of Hispanic origin. At least one of the Parents has an advanced College Degree. Everyone works in the CU. Mom and Dad have their own business but their child also works, at least part time. They’re doing very well with a total Household income in excess of $150K. They own their home or to be more accurate, share ownership with the bank. They live in a rural area (under 2500 pop.) in the West, but it is adjacent to a good sized metropolitan area. This gives them plenty of space for their companion animals, but they are still close enough to commute to the City for business, shopping and entertainment – the benefits of the Urban environment…We all wish that there were more of them.

 (↓Here are some CU Spending Fun Facts↓)

That “wraps it up” for this report. We look forward to the US BLS Mid-Year 2016 Update in May.

2015 Pet Spending was $67.75B – Where did the $ come from…?

As we have reported, the 2015 Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the US BLS with “field” work by the Census Bureau determined that Total Pet Spending in the U.S. reached $67.75B – an increase of $3.43B (+5.3%). After a detailed analysis, we concluded that the increase was primarily driven by the Baby Boomers, who elected to upgrade their Pet Food in 2015. However, that’s not the whole $67.8B story.

Where did the bulk of the spending come from? In this report we will look at Total Pet Spending in terms of 10 demographic categories. The goal is to determine what groups were responsible for most of the overall spending. Our target number was to find demographic segments in each category that account for 60 to 80% of the total. In some cases this was easy – Homeowners. In other situations, we had to bundle individual segments together to reach our 60% “minimum”. Ex: Ages 45>74

Knowing the specific group within each demographic category that was responsible for generating the bulk of Pet Spending is a first step in a targeted marketing program. In an upcoming “awards” post we will drill even deeper to show the best and worst performing demographic segments for 2015! But first…we’ll “show you the money!”

In the 2 charts that follow, the demographic groups appear in ranked order by Total Pet market share from highest to lowest. I also included their share of total CU’s (Financially Independent Consumer Units). This allows us to see how each performed versus the size of the demographic group.

  1. Race/Ethnic – White, Non-Hispanics (88.3%) The vast majority of Pet Spending is done by this group. In fact, Hispanics, African Americans and Asians account for 30% of CU’s but less than 12% of Pet Spending. The Hispanic portion of the U.S. population is growing strongly. This is a situation that should be researched further. (Performance Rating: 126%)
  2. Housing – Homeowners (82.6%) Controlling your “own space” has long been the key to larger pet families and more pet spending. (Performance Rating: 132%)
  3. # in CU – 2+People (80.1%) It just takes two. More singles are adding Pets to their household. However, if you put 2 people together, pets very likely will follow. (Performance Rating: 113%)
  4. Income – Over $50K (69.5%) Although Pet Parenting is common in all income groups, money does matter. The top half of CU’s by income spent 70% of Total Pet $. (Performance Rating: 140%)
  5. Education – Associates Degree or Higher (66.5%) Once again, all education levels have pets but spending is another matter. Consumers with a formal degree beyond a high school diploma (51%) accounted for 2/3 of Total Pet $pending. (Performance Rating: 131%)
  6. Age – 45>74 (65.2%) Income starts high with this group then fades. The key factor is that their children are older and in most cases have left home. When this happens their attention and spending naturally turns to their Pet Children. (Performance Rating: 128%)
  7. Area – Suburban (64.6%) Homeownership is high and this group also has the “space” for pets. About half (55%) of U.S. CU’s accounted for almost 2/3 of Pet Spending. (Performance Rating: 117%)
  8. CU Composition – Married Couples (62.9%) With or without children, two people committed to each other is an ideal situation for Pet Parenting. (Performance Rating: 130%)
  9. # Earners – “Everyone Works” (62.2%) This is a composite of CU’s, regardless of size, where all adults are employed. While this group makes and spends more money, retired folks and CU’s with 2+ people and only one earner are still a significant share of spending. (Performance Rating: 109%)
  10. Occupation – “I’m a Boss” (61.0%)This is another composite group, consisting of managers/professionals, self-employed and retired people. While they may not be “the” boss, they are all “bosses” to some extent. Pet ownership is so widespread across all occupations that bundling a “significant” spending majority with a common connection is difficult. (Performance Rating: 122%)

Comments: The apparent spending disparity in regard to Race/Ethnicity is an obvious concern which should be investigated. The correlation between homeownership (especially with a yard) and pet spending has been true from the earliest days of the industry. Putting 2 people together is another “good bet for pet”. Yes, income does matter, especially with the inflation in the Veterinary Segment and the current movement to upgrade Pet Food. However, how you make the money isn’t as important. Educated consumers are also more likely to spend more. They generally make more money and may respond better to the value of higher quality nutrition – at a higher price, as well as the need for regular Vet visits. Finally, as parents grow older and their children start to leave home, they turn their attention and spending to their Pet Children.

Most of these answers are the ones that we expected. However, as we have learned from past experience, it is always a good idea to look “beneath the surface” of the overall numbers. In a follow up post, we will drill deeper into the data. We will determine the best and worst performing segments in each demographic category and specifically, who generated the largest increases and decreases in Pet Spending in 2015. As usual, expect some surprises.

Pets are obviously an integral part of the American way of life…but there is still room for the relationship to grow.