Pet Category Growth Unleashed

New research shows that sales topped $147B last year
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Pet product
While the number of new pet owners has come off pandemic highs, sales of pet food, treats and supplies continues to climb on a yearly basis.

Pet products are a breed apart. According to a new report from the American Pet Products Association (APPA), total pet industry sales hit $147 billion last year and the industry is expected to continue its recent growth trajectory.

At grocery stores, mass stores, pet stores and other retail locations, pet parents shelled out $64.4 billion on pet food and drinks in 2023. Another $32 billion was spent on supplies, over-the-counter medication and live animals.

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"The data has shown that the pet industry has remained incredibly strong since 2009 despite wide-scale economic challenges. While there are signs of slowing, the industry is resilient, especially compared to other industries," said Peter Scott, APPA president and CEO. "In fact, we forecast the industry's expenditures to top $250 billion by 2030."

The report revealed other trends across pet categories. The percentage of households with pets has come back down to pre-pandemic norms, following the surge in adoptions and purchases that occurred during the at-home period of that time. Also using COVID as a barometer of sorts, the research shows that people are dividing pet purchases between physical stores and online sites, behaviors that align with the rise in e-commerce.

Additionally, the study pointed to opportunities to reach younger pet parents, as Gen Z shoppers come of age. “Millennial pet owners still account for more pet owners than any other generation, but the number of Gen Z pet owners is quickly rising,” said Ingrid Chu, the group’s VP of insights and research, adding, “While brick-and-mortar is still a big driver of awareness of new pet products, social media is equally important among the younger generations. Gen Z looks to visual platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram to learn about new pet products, telling us that pet brands will need to consider more visual media to reach their younger audiences.”

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