Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers as owning most pets

Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers as owning most pets
Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers as owning most pets. This cat is owned by a Millennial couple.

Cats aren’t just for older people, they’re for everyone, and the Millennials (Generation Y) now outnumber the Baby Boomers as pet owners. Thirty-five percent of all pets are owned by Millennials. With this change, pets are now going everywhere, and doing everything that their owners do. That includes traveling, camping, and even going to the beach.

Spending on pets mushrooming

Spending on pets is mushrooming with pet industry spending in 2016 being a record $66.75 billion, an increase of over $20 billion in just 10 years.

According to 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA)  there are 84.6 million pet-owning households in the US, which puts pet ownership at about 68 percent of total households. This is up from 56 percent of U.S. households in 1988, the first year the survey was conducted.

At the 2017 Global Pet Expo, ARPA President Bob Vetere, confirmed the pet industry is experiencing continuous, unprecedented growth.

What’s even more astounding is that pet spending has increased by $20 million in the past 10 years, increasing from $41.2 billion in 2007 to $66.8 billion in 2016, with projection of $69.4 billion in 2017. That could be good news for bloggers like Paws for Reflection, as we reach out to provide quality information to all cat owners, particularly Millennials. Our research has shown the majority of our readers are Millennials with almost an even split between men and women.

Millennials look to Paws for Reflection for information

Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers as owning most pets
Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers as owning most pets and this couple follow in the steps of their parents and grandparents as petowners.


Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers as owning most pets
Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers as owning most pets, and these dogs are owned by a Millennial couple and their parents.

Even more significant for bloggers like Paws is that half of cat and dog owners (48 and 42 percent, respectively) turn to the internet when seeking information for or about their pet. Paws has found Millennials are coming to Paws for Reflection to find concrete information about their cats. We find new and diverse Millennials searching our posts, including:

 But for now, let’s get back to the research. Cats, dogs, rabbits, and even reptiles are being treated a little differently than with previous generations. It may be trite, except in scientific terms, to refer to the human-animal bond anymore because our pets have marched their way into our homes and our hearts. We want to do more than provide a forever home for them; we want to share our lives with them. That means opening up opportunities for them to do everything we humans do.

Pets go everywhere and do everything their owners do

They are no longer a part of the family left behind at home. Pets are part of their owners lives. Now, pets are integrated and often go everywhere and do everything that their owners do.

This is big news for the pet industry, as they try to capitalize on this explosive market. Products are now being developed to support and enhance that pet lifestyle. Paws doesn’t really agree the word lifestyle is correct, but it’s a way the marketers can frame their market research to appeal to a growing appetite for pet products. When Paws thinks of lifestyle, we think of home furnishings, but if we include how we live our lives, it can be an apt description for pets.

Biggest market segment is pet food

Not surprisingly, the biggest market segment is with pet food with new products being developed to appeal to the human’s wants – not necessarily the pets. Your cat might not care if he gets a grain-free treat, but this could be of top most importance to his human. Kitty probably doesn’t care if his toy is red, blue or green, but his owner does.

When it comes to marketing, each generation is molded by their news and events of their day, and analysts spend mega-bucks learning what appeals to each of these markets.

Market segmentation drives pet product innovation

Part of this includes market segmentation where potential customers are divided into groups, or segments, based on different characteristics. The segments created are composed of consumers who will respond similarly to marketing strategies and who share traits such as similar interests, needs, or locations. This includes breaking down age-groups into the following categories:

  • Greatest Generation describes those who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II.
  • Baby Boomers: the post–World War II baby boom, approximately between the years 1946 and 1964. This includes people who are between 53 and 71 years old in 2017
  • Generation X, or Gen X, is generation following the baby boomers.  Typically researchers use those born from the early-to-mid 1960s to the late 1970s to early 1980s. Generation X is a relatively smaller demographic sandwiched between the baby boomers and the Millennials.
  • Millennials (also known as Generation Y) were typically born from the 1980s to the mid-1990s to early They are typically the chil