Consumer spending on pets has more than doubled from $17 billion in 1994 to an estimated $38.4 billion in 2006, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.
The APPMA, a trade association for pet product manufacturers and importers, expects Americans' spending on pets this year to be the highest to date.
The association projects $15.2 billion will be spent on food, $9.3 billion on supplies and over-the-counter-medications, $9.4 billion on veterinary care, $1.8 billion for animal purchases, and $2.7 billion for other services.
Veterinary care and other services had stronger than anticipated performances in 2005, when total pet-related expenditures were $36.3 billion. New and expanded veterinary services, such as joint replacement surgeries and ophthalmic procedures, helped to increase total spending by nearly 8 percent over 2004 levels, according to the APPMA.
Pet spas and hotels and similar innovative services continue to increase market penetration.
"Both of these segments should maintain strong performances this year as pet ownership continues to increase especially among key demographic sectors, including baby boomers and young, professional couples," said Bob Vetere, APPMA president.
Growth in the pet food sector performed as forecasted at 3.5 percent during 2004. "It is interesting to note that food continues to show growth not only in the expected high-end areas with vitamin-fortified formulas, gourmet lines, and natural/organic food, but with the value-priced portion of the segment as well," Vetere added.
A trend in the humanization of pet products continues to fuel further retail growth. "Both baby boomers whose children have moved on with their lives and young professionals who are delaying having families in favor of careers are turning to pets to fill the void at home," Vetere said.
Because these families have higher-than-average disposable incomes, their pets are enjoying expensive products as well as innovative products designed for pet owners' convenience, Vetere explained.
Because this base is contining to expand, the APPMA is projecting total industry spending to grow by 5.7 percent this year for a total of $38.4 billion.