After a pandemic surge, you might expect new pet acquisition to slow down. But new proprietary data from the 2023 HomePage News Occasions Report (commissioned in partnership with IHA) shows there’s still steady interest.
33% of respondents said they anticipate friends and family to welcome a new pet in the next 12 months. (Survey data was collected in September 2022.) That number is slightly higher than a year ago (32%), though the certainty is a bit lower. In the 2023 survey, 10% said it was very likely and 23% said somewhat likely, while in the 2022 Survey, 12% said very likely and 20% said somewhat likely.
26% of respondents said it’s likely they’ll personally get a new pet in the next 12 months.
This continued interest in new pets—not to mention the millions we already own—deserves attention. After all, approximately 70% of U.S. households now own a pet—roughly 90.5 million homes, according to the 2021-2022 survey from the American Pet Products Association.
Millennials Leading the Trend
Millennials are driving the new pet trend in several ways, highlighting another opportunity for retailers or brands looking to connect with this generation.
In the 2023 Occasions Report, nearly half of 18–34-year-olds (45%) said it’s likely their friends or family will get a new pet in the next 12 months. That compares to 39% of 35-44-year-olds, 29% of 45-64-year-olds and 19% of those 65 or older.
In addition, 38% of 18–34-year-olds said it’s likely they’ll personally get a new pet, compared with 33% of 35–44-year-olds, 20% of 45–64-year-olds and 14% of those 65 and older.
And perhaps most interesting, Millennials are mostly like to give a home or housewares product as a gift to help a friend or family member celebrate a new pet. (31% of 18–34-year-olds vs 26% of 35–44-year-olds, 18% of 45–64-year-olds, and 14% of those 65 and older.)
A Pet-Friendly and Human-Friendly Home
“Pets in the pandemic were saviors of a lot of people, who spend what it takes to keep them happy,” says Mark Neckes, a consultant, past chairman of the marketing department of Johnson and Wales University, and a former department store buyer.
But especially with less time on their hands these days, pet owners can use solutions that make life with pets easier. In the home and housewares arena, this could include upgraded cleaning products like mops or vacuums, specialized ones like these Pet Hair Remover Dryer Balls from Grand Fusion, and items to store and organize pet toys.
Portable products like Asobu’s Buddy Bottle, which is a water bottle for humans with an attached water bowl and food bowl for dogs, can be especially helpful for consumers on the go.
There’s also a big opportunity for sellers of air purifiers—which were so popular during the pandemic for virus control —to market how their products help remove pet allergens from the air. After all, improving the home environment benefits not only those living with a pet, but any guests who may be coming over now that we’re entertaining at home again more. Want a deluxe model? Consider the Winex Ultimate Pet HR900 air purifier, which has a 5-stage process designed specifically for pet hair and dander.
Gifts for Pets and Their Owners
In the U.S. at least, there’s a pretty strong sentiment that pets are family members. Case in point: All those holiday cards you’re getting with pets in the family picture or included in the family note! As a result, a lot of people think of themselves not only as pet parents but as pet grandparents, aunts and uncles.
That’s a good reason for retailers and their suppliers to think about targeting the extended family with more upscale gift products just as they do with newborns, says Neckes.
Those gifts could be home or housewares items, or they could be one of the growing number of pet treats, toys and apparel that can be merchandised alongside home products and gifts.
Access the 2023 HomePage News Occasions Survey—commissioned in partnership with the International Housewares Association and sponsored by Newell Brands—for more insights on new pet ownership and seven other gift-giving occasions.