Inside the incredible trend towards pet spending
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Inside the incredible trend towards pet spending

May is National Pet Month. With this in mind, American brokerage firm TD Ameritrade conducted a survey of 1,500 millennials to investigate how their approach to pet ownership – and, crucially, what they are willing to spend on their pets – differs from previous generations. If you’re over 35, the results may well come as a surprise!

IDEXX Laboratories share price has risen by 24% so far this year

graph 2905 idexx

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

TD Ameritrade found that a significant majority (72%) of the millennials surveyed had pets. Unexpectedly, 67% were prone to gush emotionally about their pets, which they “warmly” considered their “fur babies”. As you might imagine, the type of owner who refers to their pet as a “fur baby” is inclined to spend a significant amount of money on it!

Dog owners in this cohort spend an unbelievable average of $1,285 on their pets annually! Cat owners were only a little less enthusiastic, spending $915 a year. This incredible statistic demonstrates a baseline difference between millennial pet owners and those that came before them: without even considering things like illness and vets’ bills, pet owners today are willing to commit to spending around $20,000 on a pet, over its entire lifecycle!

But illness is another area where millennial pet owners stand apart from their parents and grandparents. According to TD Ameritrade’s press release: “one of the shocking highlights from the survey was that millennials expect to spend more money on their dogs over the course of the pet’s lifetime than they do on their own lifetime health care costs.”

Millennials said they would spend “nearly $2,000” on treatment for a sick pet, and 11% of them would be willing to part with as much as $10,000 for it. 68% of millennials would “gladly take time off to care for a new pet,” if employers gave them the opportunity.

All this demonstrates what is if not a strictly “new” market, at least a market so expanded in recent years that it is almost unrecognisable from previous generations. That means there’s a huge demand for top quality pet care. As companies figure out the best ways to provide the requisite supply to soak that demand up, expect some people to make a great deal of money.


Dominion holds IDEXX Laboratories, CVS Group Plc., and Pets At Home Group Plc., in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.

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