Driving the pet industry to become the billion dollar industry that it is, Millennials are the primary pet-owning demographic. With 35% of pet parents being Millennials, it’s no surprise that we are the ones propelling the bottom line of pet companies and retailers. Our generation has changed the way pets are catered to, as we’re the first to have more pets than children. We’re also more likely to want to experience adventures with our beloved canine companions, than settle down into a costly home like generations before us. It’s interesting to reflect on what the pet industry has become, and more thoroughly investigate those driving factors.
How Millennials Have Changed the Pet Industry
We Want Pets, Not Kids.
As the world has become more dangerous, expensive and stressful, Millennials have made the decision to have more pets and less kids. With the average child costing $250,000 and women no longer feeling as much pressure to reproduce, the rate at which children are being born has severely diminished. Millennials are having less kids at an older age, or not having children at all. Through the growth of women’s rights and contraceptive options, Millennials are the first generation of women to say “to hell with that” when it comes to a traditional family lifestyle. Watch out world – the dog moms are taking over!
We Want Experiences, Not Things.
‘Things’ are expensive. Suburban houses and everything that comes along with them are draining our wallets. We’ve seen our parents go into debt. We’ve seen people lose their homes due to cost. We’ve seen people tied down to a house, when they’d rather travel. So Millennials are the first generation to prefer renting, traveling and leaving it all behind for a life of experience. The new rage are concepts like tiny homes, RV traveling across the country with our dogs, or living abroad. Millennials would rather make memories (preferably with our pets), than be tied down to one place.
More often than not, pets are a massive part of these experiences. This is a huge driving factor in the pet industry. Brands make money from adventure related items like doggy tents, backpacks and cooling beds. Pet parents are interested in whatever we can put our hands on to make these life experiences easier and more comfortable for our canine companions.
We Love Our Pets More Than Our Phones.
While older generations may think Millennials are attached to their phones, think again. A whopping 65% of Millennials say that it would be much more stressful to be separated from their pets than their phones for an entire week.
We Also Love Our Pets More Than People…
Millennials get the greatest joy from spoiling our pets. Holidays aside, 92% of Millennials state that they love gifting their pets with items such as toys, treats and clothing. More than half of this generation’s pet parents buy a gift for their pets at least once a month. (This is definitely me!)
Going along with our love for pets, Millennials would much rather spend time with our pets than go to work without them. Obviously, right? Well, a massive 71% of Millennials would take a pay cut if it meant being able to bring their fur babies to work everyday. I work from home so I can be with my babies everyday, but if I had to go to an office (God forbid), I would take a huge pay cut to be able to bring Wynston to work with me.
We’re Open to New Veterinary Options.
While bringing our pets to a veterinary office to receive traditional Western medicine is still the most popular form of treatment among pet parents, Millennials are open to a variety of new options. Holistic vets, specialists, pet oncology and treatments like acupuncture for pets are becoming more and more common. Millennials are the most likely to give those alternative options a try, while also preferring vets and groomers who make home visits.
We are Pet Parents, and Proud!
Older Millennials (ages 26-34) are most likely to show off their pet parent status. Products such as clothing, coffee mugs, phone cases and totes which showcase our dog mom/dad status are popular among 83% of Millennials. We’re proud of our pet parenthood, and we have no shame!
We Shop Differently.
A majority of Millennials lack confidence in pet store employees’ knowledge. I have to admit I’m one of them, as my passion for pets far exceeds that of someone doing a job for a paycheck. I have absolutely nothing against someone who works any job, but I personally believe I know more about the well-being of dogs and cats better than most pet retailer employees. Because of this, Millennials tend to rely on their own research and veterinary recommendation for certain items like food and treats. Millennials prefer to buy certain items online, such as toys accessories and food, while brick and mortar locations prove to be more popular for treats, bedding and clothing.
And hey dog dads – this one’s for you! Fifty-one percent of men buy an item for their pets at least once a week, where as 49% of women do. I thought that was such a fun, interesting statistic!
We’re Stopping the Use of Harmful Training Tools
Millennials are the first generation (as a whole) to oppose harmful dog training tools. These include shock, prong and choke collars. Positive reinforcement training is the best, most effective and kindest form of dog training, and Millennials are embracing it to the max. I’m thrilled to see the use of disgusting, abusive means of training become less popular.
Millennials have changed the way people see pets. I’m proud to be a pet parent, as I’ve chosen dog mom life over human mom life. Millennial or not, do you fit into any or all of the above categories?