Millennials, and especially millennial men, love their pets.
According to the Washington Post's Millennials are picking pets over people 71 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 34 have dogs (versus 62 percent of women), while 48 percent have cats (versus 35 percent of women).
This, BTW, means that a sizeable percentage of millennial men have both dogs and cats.
It also means millennials are much more likely to be pet owners than older cohorts. According to the article, 50 percent of the overall population have dogs, and 35 percent have cats.
Regular readers know we follow pet trends pretty closely here at Small Business Labs. But these numbers still surprised us and after review we continue to think they are pretty high.
But we've learned over the years it's easy to underestimate how quickly the pet humanization trend is growing. So we believe these numbers are certainly possible.
The data comes from Mintel's 2016 report on America's Pet Owners. It costs $4,000, so we won't be diving deep on this report because we aren't buying it.
According to the Mintel landing page, the report covers:
- Pet owners struggle to balance spoiling and disciplining their pets
- Owners believe emotional health is important, but struggle to understand pet’s needs
- Cat owners less willing to spend on products and services
This fits with the key quote from the Washington Post article, which is on how pets are becoming kid and family substitutes - something we cover in detail in our Pet Trends Section:
The findings come at a time when millennials, roughly defined as the generation born between 1980 and 2000, are half as likely to be married or living with a partner than they were 50 years ago. They are also delaying parenthood and demanding flexible work arrangements — all of which, researchers say, has translated to higher rates of pet ownership.
“Pets are becoming a replacement for children,” said Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and author of “Generation Me.” “They’re less expensive. You can get one even if you’re not ready to live with someone or get married, and they can still provide companionship.”
We also found this quote interesting (the picture is from the article):
Millennials were also twice as likely than Baby Boomers to buy clothing for their pets, a phenomenon Richter chalks up to the prevalence of social media.
“The clothing is, for them, an opportunity for performance — they put it on their dog or cat, take them for a walk, post a picture on Facebook,” Richter said. “It’s increasingly about getting a digital stamp of approval.”
The 2nd order effects of social media, especially how it's helping to drive the rise of experiences and postable activities is a fascinating topic. We first started exploring this topic while studying food trucks. We will have more on this in the future.