Pet Industry Spending Makes History: Surpasses $60 Billion

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The American Pet Products Association (APPA) Releases Annual Industry-Wide Spending Figures

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Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), announced at Global Pet Expo, an annual trade show presented by APPA and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), that overall spending in the pet industry for 2015 came in at a record $60.28 billion. The spending figures are part of APPA’s annual comprehensive report that covers pet spending in the market categories of: food, supplies/over-the-counter (OTC) medications, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other services.

“The pet humanization trend is alive and well and continues to drive growth at the premium end of the market,” said Vetere. “As millennials prepare to take the reins from the baby boomer generation as the primary demographic of pet owners, they stand to further develop this trend.”

Pet services, which includes grooming, boarding, walking, training, pet sitting, exercise and yard services for our pampered pets, saw the largest growth again this year and more than tripled the growth percentage of any other category. Coming in at an 11.8 percent growth from 2014 to 2015, we are now spending $5.41 billion on pet-related services. Second only to pet services growth, is spending on supplies/OTC meds (3.9 percent growth to $14.28 billion).

“The use of pet medications and supplements to ensure longer, healthier lives for pets is increasing, thus somewhat offsetting any lower income growth for vet services,” added Vetere. “The market for these medications has entered a period of redefinition and renewal including considerable investment action; they are now being offered in a variety of channels, like mass market outlets as well.”

Spending on supplies/OTC meds is heading towards an estimated $14.98 billion for 2016, making it the third highest spending category, behind food and narrowing the gap on veterinary care spending. Pet supplies in this category may include such items as: beds, collars, leashes, toys, litter, bedding, food and water bowls, clothing and other accessories.

The food category still remains by far the leading source of dollars spent within the industry. Pet owners have begun to scrutinize the treats they buy even more closely, and interest in natural, locally sourced ingredients has never been higher. Along with quality, value continues to be a driving factor with pet owners looking for more value for their dollar in the form of treats that provide additional health benefits such as dental care or joint care. Although the aforementioned highlights consumer behavior trends, ongoing category growth comes mainly from rising prices and not from a larger volume of pet food being sold.

And while veterinary care spending only grew 2.5 percent from 2014, it remains the second highest source of spending. For the second consecutive year, there was also a slight decline in live animal purchases, however the gap is narrowing but is also expected again in 2016. Vetere says that likely reasons for this trend range from a decline in pet types available from shelters or breeders, to a growing number of pet sale bans, and longer pet lifespans due to improved healthcare.

“The 2016 industry spending forecast is very promising and although spending trends in various market segments ebb and flow, the industry as a whole is continuing to prosper, which is always great news,” said Vetere. “And, with increased research on the health benefits of pet ownership, we anticipate even higher industry sales in the years to come.”

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958. APPA membership includes more than 1,200 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises. APPA's mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. Visit for more information.

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Jamie Baxter
American Pet Products Association
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