Occasions And Times - Buying Treats For Pets


To have an understanding of the periods of time, seasons, and occasions during the year when it’s more likely that people will buy treats for their pets in Canada and the US (North America) broken down by different occasions such as fixed days like Halloween and Christmas, fixed events like birthdays, variable occasions/events, and even different times of the year, like spring or summer where pet treats sales may go up due to specific factors.

Early Findings

  • Nearly 70% of all U.S. households own a pet, with dogs by far the most popular pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. Some 60.2 million households own dogs, compared with 47.1 million that own cats.
  • People who own pets take their responsibilities as pet parents very seriously. That adds up to quite a lot of money, some $72.1 billion in the U.S. this year, up 8.1% from 2016. Pet food gets the lion’s share of this spending, or about 42% of the total.
  • People are purchasing pet products year-round and love to involve their pets in every aspect of their lives, from birthdays to walks in the park to even thematic kitchen and home decor, since they are seen as an extension and beloved member of the family.
  • Since pets are millennial’s four-legged children, they deserve all the same treatment other family members get, including gifts. More than half (51%) of millennials buy gifts for their pets once a month or more. Holidays, birthdays or just any day, pets deserve a treat.
  • Millennials do plenty of research online to find the best products. Some 77% say online retailers increasingly fill the bill for pet products like toys, accessories and food, while they favor in-store shopping for treats, bedding and clothing.
  • In a Voice of America article, Nicki Dobson of Three Dog Bakery in Kansas City, Missouri, explains how pet owners buy treats for their pups as they might ice cream for their children. “We have dogs come in every week,” Dobson said in that article. “Their dog needs a cookie every night. We have people who drop $50 to $75 on [dog] pastries every week.”
  • "Many pet parents include their pups in Halloween celebrations, too. According to Pet Products News, millions will dress their pets up for Halloween. One statistic said that for every $3 parents spend on costumes for children, they’ll spend $1 on a costume for their pet."
  • Research shows that pets have become such an important part of the family that more than half of the dog owners (58%) are comfortable using nicknames for themselves such as "Mommy" and "Daddy" when talking about themselves in reference to their dogs. In fact 35% even refer to their dog as "son" or "daughter". The idea that we are thinking about our dogs more like parents than pet owners is also supported by the fact that 10% of the dog owners celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day with their dog.
  • 81% of dog parents know their pets' birthdays. In addition, 77% have celebrated this occasion by buying him or her a present to mark that day. In addition, 74% of pet parents said that they like to share at least one meal with their dogs each day, with three quarters of them choosing dinner as their favorite.
  • According to a survey by Rover.com of 1,000 U.S. pet owners, an incredible 95 per cent admit to buying Christmas gifts for their pets. Christmas was the most popular occasion for pet gift giving, with 95 per cent of those who treat their pups and kitties purchasing a gift on that holiday, followed by birthdays (61 per cent) and, notably, Valentine’s Day (11 per cent).
  • More than a third of pet owners admit to buying their pet a present for every holiday and birthday, while 78 per cent said they only do it occasionally.
  • For 2019, American households planned to spend an estimated $647.9 million on gifts for their cats and dogs on Valentine’s Day.
  • In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address the stated goals.

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • It was clear in our preliminary one hour research that getting publicly available data surrounding the periods of time, seasons, and occasions during the year when it’s more likely that people will buy treats for their pets in Canada and the US is just not available.
  • What we did find were sources that showed spending on pets did indeed go up at certain times of the year, but the spending was overall, and was not focused on treats.
  • We can extrapolate, however, that if consumer spending for pets goes up at Christmas, then some of that money would go to treats.
  • We assumed treats meant food.
  • We assumed cats and dogs were pets, and we did not consider other pets during our research.
  • Please select the option provided in the proposed scoping section below if further research is desired.

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