According to recent consumer survey data of more than 700 pet owners and Vericast’s annual 2023 Retail TrendWatch, consumers are putting their pets before inflation worries.

Over three-quarters (76%) of pet owners view their pet as their child. Millennials felt most this way at 82%, followed by Gen X (75%), Gen Z (70%) and baby boomers (67%).

Consumers will spend more on pets, especially when it comes to their health, but they’d like to save money where possible. About 37% of consumers surveyed seek discounts for pet spending this year, and 28% are using loyalty programs.

About 78% of survey respondents are willing to spend more on pet food and treats in 2023 than in 2022, indicating an interest in higher-quality products.

Over a third of consumers (38%) are willing to spend more on health products like vitamins and supplements this year, and 38% of respondents also said they will spend more on pet hygiene products.

Pet owners are shopping where they’re most likely to find discounts – pet specialty big box stores and retailers.

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Almost one third (32%) of people shop for their pets at big brand specialty stores, while 20% of consumers preferred e-commerce shopping for pets. Only 13% of consumers said they are willing to shop at local, boutique pet stores.

About 80% of pet owners commemorate pet birthdays and holidays with a special gift or treat.

Hybrid and remote work also impact spending. About 62% of pet owners surveyed say that they’re spending more to keep their pets busy. Of those that work fully remote, 74% plan to spend more on toys and activities to occupy pets during the day.

Vericast pet industry expert Taylor Coogan commented: “With the holiday season approaching, now is an opportune time for retailers to evaluate how they will communicate the value they provide to pet owners.”

According to the latest pet spending data from the American Pet Products Association, spending remains strong as economic uncertainty persists. Pet spending in 2022 was $136.8bn in total industry sales, nearly an 11% increase over 2021. About $58bn was spent on pet foods and treats, which was the highest spend category and the category with the biggest increase at 16%.