January 10, 2018

In 2016, the biggest driver in U.S. consumer spending—price—came to the forefront in the pet industry, says A GPS For Pet Businesses President John Gibbons.

In fact, pet food spending fell $2.99 billion (-10.1 percent) from 2015 to 2016. Spending in 2015 saw a rise because of the increased spending on higher-priced premium foods. But with more people concerned with price in 2016, 77 percent of consumer reduced the amount they spend on pet food, Gibbons stated in his report “2016 Pet Food Spending was $26.5B- Where did it come from…?”

However, as Gibbons points out, “the $26.5 billion spent on pet food in 2016 was still $2.4 billion (10 percent) higher than 2014. The segment is just taking a pause in its upward climb.” And owners didn’t just pocket the savings, Gibbons wrote; they spent most of it—$2.5 billion of it—in other pet industry segments.

While, overall, pet food spending is on the rise, it is important to realize from where the decrease from one year to the next came. Gibbons crunched the numbers to see who spent how much on pet food in 2016, and how it earned its place as taking up 39 percent of all pet spending.

According to Gibbons, “income is the single most important factor in increased pet food spending.” Homeownership and marriage status were, respectively, the second and third biggest factor in how the $26.5 billion mark was met.

“Increased income, homeownership and being married all generate increased pet food spending and all are categories in which the consumer can exercise some control,” Gibbons wrote.

Pet food spending in the suburbs decreased while pet food spending in the city increased. Those who worked in the tech, sales and clerical fields also had an increase in spending, while retired and self-employed people decreased the amount they spend on pet food. Looking at age, those between 25 and 34 years old and then over 75 increased their spending. The South was the U.S. region that spent the most, in all.

For a full breakdown of pet food spending demographics, read Gibbons’ full report here.


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