Despite a recession, the pet industry has seen continued growth in recent years as the trend of pet humanization has more pet owners purchasing human-grade, premium pet foods, luxury products and human-like medical care for their pets, according to a recent New York Times article.
Americans spent a record US$55 billion on their pets in 2010, driven by a 7% increase in veterinary services, according to Packaged Facts. This may be partially due to the fact that human medical technologies are increasingly being used for pets and prolonging their lifespan, the Times article says.
“Pet owners aren’t just looking to provide a home for their pets,” said Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association. “They are investing in their pets’ quality of life. Oftentimes they do this at their own expense, cutting personal expenses, but not those affecting their faithful companions.”
Consumers are also spending more on their pet's food, looking for human-grade products.
Jessica Taylor, managing editor of Petfood Industry, said that when she began at the magazine four years ago, the petfood industry lagged human trends by at least one year. Now, the industry is six months behind or less, Taylor said, predicting that blueberries and pomegranates will be the next trend in petfood, as they have recently been marketed to humans as powerful antioxidants. Another human food trend, natural and organic foods, have accounted for 7% of petfood sales, according to David Lummis, senior pet market analyst for Packaged Facts, who said that he expects to see even further growth in this sector.