Pet owners’ spending has remained steady from before the pandemic, a survey from Money and Morning Consult finds, with more than two-thirds (71%) of owners saying they spent $100 or less a month on their pet now, and spent the same amount before March 2020.
The survey noted slight increases among the heaviest spenders — those who spend more than $150 a month on food, toys and other non-medical expenses.
Still, with more Americans buying or adopting pets in 2020 — an estimated 11 million of them, for a total of 85 million homes with pets — there is an opportunity for retailers to grow their pet food and care business.
More than one in five respondents to the survey (22%) said they’d welcomed a new animal into their lives since March 2020. The age of the owner (and others in the home) made a big difference to the likelihood of becoming a new pet parent.
Younger people and younger families were by far the most likely to have added a pandemic pet. GenZers, Millennials and families with kids at home were all about 50% more likely than respondents as a whole to have acquired an animal since March 2020.
Shelters were the No. 1 source of new pets, with 37% of pet parents choosing that route.
The Money survey reports that, even today, with lockdowns lifting and vaccinations expanding, Americans continue to spend an average of at least 20% more time during the day at home than before the pandemic, according to Google’s Community Mobility Data.
On the flip side, pandemic challenges have also been a hardship for some pet owners. According to Mars Petcare’s “Pets in a Pandemic” report, one in five pet owners has considered giving up their pet during the pandemic. As a result of the pandemic, almost two-thirds of pet parents surveyed (61%) said they were concerned about their financial ability to care for their pet. Among those directly affected by COVID-19, nearly a quarter reported a great deal of concern. Of the 20% of pet parents who considered giving up their pet, more than half — 13% — ultimately made that difficult choice.