Petfood Industry - July 2018 - 44
44 | www.PetfoodIndustry.com
MARKET REPORT David Sprinkle
How shifting pet ownership
economics impact pet food
Past and current pet
A dynamic shift in pet
households with higher
opportunities for the
pet food market trying
to reach all pet owners.
Harriet Ritvo's "The Animal
Estate: The English and Other
Creatures in the Victorian Age"
(Harvard, 1989) ushered in academic analysis
of pet ownership attitudes in relation to class
structure. The more things change, the more
things stay the same, you could say of the pet
market - but the devil is in the details.
Pet ownership patterns are at an economic
crossroads. As reported in Packaged Facts' Pet
Market Outlook (May 2018), the percentage of
households with dogs or cats hovered around
50 percent of the U.S. population from 2008 to
2010. For 2011 onward, the percent with dogs
or cats edged up to the 52 to 54 percent range
(see Table 1).
The percentage of households with dogs was
responsible for that pattern, notching up from
35 to 36 percent for 2008-10 to 38 to 41 percent
in the years since. In contrast, the percentage
of households with cats has hovered around 25
percent over this 10-year period.
The most recent Simmons survey suggests
a telltale wrinkle in what had become the new
normal. After reaching a peak rate of 41 percent
in 2016, dog ownership notched down to 39
percent for 2017 and year-to-date 2018, while
cat ownership rates did not budge from 25
percent. So dog and cat ownership rates overall
now seem flat.
In absolute terms, factoring in population
growth, the number of dog-owning households
jumped remarkably from 39 million in 2008 to a
peak of 49 million in 2016, before downshifting
somewhat to 48 million. Despite some fluctuation, the number of cat-owning households has
remained at around 30 million throughout this
David Sprinkle is the publisher and research director at Packaged Facts, a leading supplier of market research on the US pet industry.