Dog, cat food brand importance down, spending up 2018-2022

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Although the importance of brand names may have declined among pet owners in the United States, spending on dog and cat consumables has increased.

At the same time, millennials and Generation Z may show less pet food brand loyalty than older groups, particularly baby boomers. Millennials and Gen Z now make up approximately half of all pet owners in the United States, so their disillusionment with brands may be influencing the pet food market overall.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent supply chain disruptions, pet owners may have had to seek out different brands than they might have desired to purchase. Perhaps because of the pandemic and generational attitudes, the importance of brand names to pet food owners declined during the past few years. Nevertheless, the importance of pet food brand did increase slightly from 2020 to 2022 in surveys by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), although brand importance remained lower than in a 2018 survey of U.S. pet owners. Julie Springer, market research analyst for APPA, shared the results of the surveys during her presentation at Global Pet Expo on March 22 in Orlando, Florida, USA.

In the 2022 survey, 21% of dog owners said that brand name was very important to them in their pet food buying decisions, up 1% from the 2020 survey. However, in 2018, 26% of survey respondents replied that brand name was very important to them.

Similarly with cat owners, the percentage who said brand name was very important in 2018 declined then rose a bit. In 2018, 26% of cat owners replied that brand name was very important. That figure declined to 23% in 2020, then rose to 24% in 2022.

Pet food spending increased 2018-2022

While pet owners may not be quite as concerned about brand names as in the past, that hasn’t stopped them from spending more on their pets’ foods. Survey respondents told APPA that their average spending on dog food in the U. S. increased from US$250 per year in 2018 to US$287 in 2020 to US$352 in 2022. Dog owners reported spending US$76 on treats in 2018 and US$102 in 2022. Similarly, cat food spending also increased. In 2018, cat owners reported spending an average of US$228 per year in the United States. Two years later, that amount grew to US$254. In 2022, cat owners said their spent US$300 on cat food. Self-reported cat treat spending also grew from US$58 in 2018 to US$78 in 2022.  

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