Report: U.S. Pet Product and Service Sales Up 4.8%

U.S. sales of pet products and services increased 4.8 percent to $54 billion in 2009, according to a report released Jan. 19 by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

“True to the market’s ‘recession resistant’ claim to fame, sales of all pet products and services rose 4.8 percent in 2009 to reach $53 billion, meaning that the market added $2.5 billion in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” states the report, “Pet Supplies and Pet Care Products in the U.S., 8th Edition: Pet Health and Pampering: The New Value Equation.”

Sales of veterinarian services increased the most at nearly 10 percent, followed by pet food at 5 percent, other pet services at 4 percent and non-food pet supplies (which includes grooming products and bedding) at 3 percent, according to Packaged Facts.

The human-animal bond played a particularly important role in insulating the industry from recessionary cutbacks, according to Packaged Facts. The company pointed to an informal survey in which the majority of U.S. pet owners indicated that they value the comfort and security their pets offer more than ever. Packaged Facts suggested that this means pet owners are willing to invest in goods directly beneficial to their pets’ health, such as natural and organic pet supplements, heated pet beds and dog toys.

Premium demographics are also significant contributors insulating the market, because wealthier households are less likely to feel the financial pinch of a downturn as quickly or intensely, according to Packaged Facts. In addition, the company noted that wealthier consumers are more likely to read labels and pay attention to health claims. As a result, this group is said to consider higher priced products as worth the extra money.

Packaged Facts cited the growing clout of premium demographics as an indication of the success pet supply marketers have had in tapping into pet owners’ willingness and desire to pamper their pets with the healthiest products available.