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The Ruff Life of Millennials

Millennials: we’re not buying houses, cars, or diamond rings. What are we buying? Pets.

In the American Pet Products Association’s annual National Pet Owners Survey, results show that 68 percent of American households now own a pet, with the millennial generation officially surpassing baby-boomer ownership by three percentage points. Millennial pet parents now account for 35 percent of all pet owners. Bob Vetere, President and CEO of the APPA, remarked that the millennial generation of pet owners were different than those before them. “This is a very passionate, active and connected group, and it’s been very exciting to see the ways in which our industry is working to meet the demands of this powerful demographic.”

In this modern millennial pet market, where pets are viewed as members of the family, consumers are looking for the same guidelines of sustainable, eco-friendly food and product labeling that they do for their own needs. As millennial consumers are increasingly health and socially-conscious in their own purchasing and lifestyle decisions, sustainable pet food and pet products have also seen considerable growth.

According to Packaged Facts’ report, Millennials as Pet Market Consumers, 69 percent of millennial pet owners are more likely to consider foods whose recipes use naturally-made ingredients over “normal,” mass-produced foods, versus 44 percent of owners over 35. The almost $70 billion pet industry, which has grown three times since 1996, should look to this class of conscious consumers as more millennials delay marriage and parenthood in exchange for the companionship of a furry (or scaly) friend.

Other pet trends highlighted in APPA’s survey include raw dog and cat food, grain and gluten-free dog and cat food, interactive feeders, micro-chips, pet-monitoring systems, and pet doors.

W5 has previously partnered with pet supply stores, pet food brands, and their advertising agencies to capture insights into the changing marketplace dynamic in consumers’ pet care and dietary demands. W5 has explored consumer reactions to various advertising approaches for a category-leading pet specialty retail brand, finding that, much like the millennial pet trends of today, the advertising approach that focused on pets as part of the family was the most appealing.

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