Amidst the shortages in toilet paper and hand sanitizer last year, out of stocks at animal shelters were perhaps one of the more curious side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. But how different is this new breed of pet owners from previous cohorts? In today’s Insight Flash, we dig into trends for new shopper adoption, demographics of those new shoppers, and whether the new cohort of pet owners is more or less attractive for the industry based on average spend.
Although the percentage of individuals newly buying pet products (a proxy for new pet owners) has been on the decline for much of the last two and a half years, April 2020 saw an uptick of about 1% in both the number of new shoppers for Pet Products/Services and the number of shoppers spending on Veterinary services for the first time.
Versus 2019, 2020 pet owners were more likely to be younger, with the biggest growth in the percentage of pet owners in the 18-24 year old age bucket. They were also more likely to rent their homes, living in units with three or more adults. This implies a shift in pet ownership to young, single individuals living as roommates versus the traditional demographics of families with children and a house with a yard.
Pet Owner Demographics
As might be expected from their demographics, these new pet owners are not as attractive for the industry as previous cohorts. In the last six months, pet owners who were new shoppers in 2020 spent 42% less on Pet Products/Services than those who had their pet in 2019. They spent 16% less on Veterinary Services.