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June 19, 2019

By: The Pet Business Professor

According to John Gibbons, president of A GPS for Pet Businesses, Pet Products spending totaled $51.17B for the 12-month period ending 6/30/18. This was an increase of $5.3B (+11.5%). Total U.S. spending for the period totaled $7.95 Trillion, up $370B (+4.9%). Driven by big increases in both Food and Supplies, Pet Products Spending growth far exceeded the pace of Total U.S. spending.

In this report we will update Pet Products Spending for arguably the most popular demographic measurement – by Generation. Baby Boomers built today’s Pet Industry, but they are getting old. What happens next? Gen Xers are next in line but most of the discussion revolves around Millennials. Last year at this time the Gen Xers had a big year. Are they still performing? What about the youngsters? Are they stepping up in life and spending? Have the Boomers still got it? Let’s take a closer look. The numbers come from or are calculated from data in the US BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey.

First, let’s define each generation and look side by side at their share of Consumer Units (H/H’s) and Total Spending.

          Generations Defined:

  • Millennials: Born 1981 and after
    • In 2018, age 19 to 37
  • Gen X: Born 1965 to 1980
    • In 2018, age 38 to 53
  • Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964
    • In 2018, age 54 to 72
  • Silent: Born 1928 to 1945
    • In 2018, age 73 to 90
  • Greatest: Born before 1928
    • In 2018, age 91 and over
  • Boomers are still the largest group with 44.4M CUs (34.0%) and the biggest spenders – $2.8T. Their numbers are down but their spending is still growing and over performing as their share in relation to their share of CUs is 105%.
  • Gen X is the second largest CU group. Their overall numbers are down slightly as more singles “pair up”. However, their spending was up $123B to $2.56T. They are the leaders in spending performance, and it got even better, 121%.
  • Millennials are the largest generation in sheer numbers, but third in CUs. More are developing financial independence as CUs grew by 2.7M – up 5M (+17%) in 2 years. They also had the biggest increase in spending +$228B. Their total spending was $1.77T – 3rd However, their spending performance is only 86%.
  • The Silent generation actually gained slightly in CUs and their overall spending was up $18B so they remain a viable force in the marketplace. The Greatest Generation will soon be too small to be a measurable, separate spending group. They will be replaced by Gen Z by 2020.

There is the obvious difference in age to be considered and differences in behavior. However, we have also learned that there are key Consumer Unit characteristics, like income, family situation and home ownership that make a difference both in Total Spending and in Pet Spending. Let’s look at some of these key differences.

See the full report here.

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