American Pet Spending Reaches New High

Pet spending in 2017 beat what analysts had originally estimated by nearly $16 million.
Kerry Lengyel
Published: March 24, 2018
The American Pet Products Association (APPA) provides periodic updates on how much money U.S. citizens spend on their beloved pets each year. While spending for 2017 was estimated to reach $69.35 billion, Americans surpassed that estimate by a few million dollars.

According to new annual industry-wide spending figures announced at this year’s Global Pet Expo held in Orlando, Florida, Americans spent a total of $69.51 billion on their pets in 2017.

These statistics mean that 2017 pet spending outpaced 2016 pet spending by nearly $3 billion, showing 4 percent growth in the pet market.

"Talk to any pet owner and they'll tell you how difficult it is to put a dollar limit on what they'd spend to give their loyal companion a happy life,” APPA president and CEO Bob Vetere said, “and it's this outlook that continues to drive growth."

When it comes to what pet owners are spending their hard-earned dollars on, though, pet food reigned supreme, followed by pet supplies and over-the-counter medications, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other miscellaneous services.
 
Category     2016 Actual 2017 Actual % Growth 2018 Estimate % Growth
      ($ Billion)   ($ Billion)   2017 vs. 2016 ($ Billion)   2018 vs. 2017
                       
Food     28.23   29.07   2.9   29.88   2.7
Supplies/ OTC Med 14.71   15.11   2.7   15.51   2.7
Veterinary Care   15.95   17.07   7.0   18.26   6.9
Live Animal Purchases 2.1   2.1   0   2.01   -4.2
Other Services   5.76   6.16   6.9   6.47   5.0
                       
Total     66.75   69.51   4.1   72.13   3.7


Over the course of one year, growth was experienced in each of these five categories except for live animal purchases — which remained the same between 2016 and 2017.

"It's incredible to not only see growth for the pet industry in general but to experience growth across all categories with the exception of 'live animal purchases,’" Vetere said.

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The good news is that veterinary care spending continues to grow year-over-year, showing a 7 percent increase from 2016. According to APPA analysts, this category is expected to continue on the same upward trajectory with 6.9 percent growth projected for 2018.

The category that experienced the most growth between 2016 and 2017 was ‘other services,’ which includes grooming, boarding, walking, training, pet sitting, yard services and more. This grouping is up 6.9 percent from 2016, coming in at $6.16 billion spent in 2017.

"The industry is moving beyond simply the humanization of pets to where they are now widely accepted as part of the pet owner's lifestyle," Vetere said. "No matter the primary cause of increased spending on pets, be it enhanced nutrition, better healthcare, increased pampering, or greater technology, the one thing we know for sure is that pet owners have a top priority in pursuing longer, healthier lives for their pets.”

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