Pet spending continues to break records

March 10, 2020
dvm360 Staff

Spending is on the rise in all categories, but pet food dominates sales.

Pet food sales have increased from 2019. (Make_story Studio/stock.adobe.com)

[Make_story Studio/stock.adobe.com]

In 2019, pet owners proved once again that their dogs and cats truly are part of the family. Annual sales of pet products and services in the United States reached another record high last year, according to a press release from the American Pet Products Association (APPA).

Overall pet industry sales were 5.7% higher in 2019 than in 2018, reaching a colossal $95.7 billion last year, according to the new report. Sales for 2020 are forecasted to increase by another 3.5%, landing at roughly $99 billion.

Of the four major spending categories—pet food and treats; supplies, live animals and over-the-counter (OTC) medicine; veterinary care and product sales; and other services—pet food and treats continue to lead the pack. Nearly 37% of total pet industry sales were in this category, nearly double the spend in any other category.

Dog and cat foods were the predominant purchases, aided by the popularity of pet food mixers and toppers. The subscription pet food delivery trend also accounted for some of the success in this category, which is expected to see another 4% increase in sales this year.

"Consumers are more educated than ever about the ingredients that go into their pets' food, which means they're willing to pay more for quality products," says Steve King, CEO of APPA, in the release. "As the demand for natural, minimally processed ingredients continues, we expect to see steady growth in this category."

Spending in the other categories shifted slightly due to reorganization in what’s included in each category. Here’s the breakdown in spending throughout all four categories:

  • Pet food and treats: $36.9 billion
  • Veterinary care and product sales (includes surgical procedures and sales of pharmaceuticals and other products through veterinary clinics, as well as routine veterinary care): $29.3 billion
  • Supplies, live animals and OTC medications (includes retail sales of fish, reptiles, small animals and birds, as well as toys, enrichment products, habitats etc.): $19.2 billion
  • Other services (includes all services outside veterinary medical care, such as boarding, grooming, insurance, training, pet sitting etc.): $10.3 billion

Compared with the global economy, which expanded by 43% over the past decade, the overall pet care market has grown by over 66% in the same time period, with the U.S. dominating the market spend.

"APPA's latest industry figures remind us of just how much Americans love their pets," King says. "By understanding consumer behavior, we're not only fostering the success of the pet industry for generations to come, we're notably improving the lives of pets and the humans who love and care for them."