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76% of Millennials Are Pet Parents—Here’s What They’ve Been Buying for Them

The majority of Millennials own a pet, and during the last six months, they’ve been spending to pamper these furry family members…

Millennials are a generation of pet parents. YPulse’s recent survey found that 76% of 20-38-year-olds have a pet, with over half reporting they have dogs and 35% owning cats. So, the large majority of the largest living generation (Millennials now outnumber Boomers) have pets in their homes—making them unquestionably the target market for pet brands everywhere. We also found that 7% of Millennials say that they have adopted a pet during COVID-19 to have company during quarantines, which means that there are millions of new pet-owners in this generation as well.

So what do they think about their furry family members, and what do they want to buy for them? Today, we turned to our on-demand research tool PULSE to ask Millennial pet owners exactly what they think, and found that they are feeling very close to their animal companions:

Over two in five 16-34-year-old pet owners say that they think of their pets as their kids, and the same number say that spending more time at home has made them closer with their pet. In other words, this generation loves their animals and think of them as part of the family more than ever. Taking good care of their pets is a priority: Significantly for this budget minded generation, they are more likely to say they buy the highest quality pet food available than the cheapest available—and almost one in five say they have gone without something to make a purchase for their pet instead.

But perhaps most interestingly, half of 16-34-year-old pet owners say that pampering their pets makes them happy—in other words, for a significant number of Millennial pet parents, buying things for their pets could actually be qualified as a form of self-care. During COVID, when moments of joy are much-needed, perhaps all brands should be appealing to this sentiment.

And they’re willing to spend to make that pampering a reality, with three in ten saying they regularly purchase presents for their pets, and nearly a quarter saying they have been spending more than usual on their pet because of COVID. In fact, a recent survey by Rover found that Millennials are more likely to have spent more than usual on their pets during the pandemic than other generations. So we used PULSE to find out what they’ve been buying:

We asked respondents what they’ve purchased for their pets beyond regular items to see how many have been spending to pamper their fur-babies, or get something new for them. Our PULSE data shows that half of these young pet owners have purchased toys for their pets during the last six months (during the pandemic), and nearly the same number have purchased special food treats.

Notably, only 5% say they have not purchased any of these potential-pampering items, showing that the large majority of Millennial pet-parents have been indulging their pet-kids during this time. Again, since pampering their pets makes them happy, these purchases are likely being made to give the pet-parents a bit of a boost themselves—and we can expect that as the pandemic continues, these types of purchases will continue to be in-demand.