But there’s another question that savvy real estate professionals should pose: Are pets part of your family equation? In more and more cases, the answer is yes. In the American Pet Products Association’s 2017–2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of U.S. households owned a pet, which works out to about 85 million families. Ownership is up from 56 percent in 1988, the first year the survey was conducted. While 48 percent of all households now own dogs, 38 percent have at least one cat. Fish, birds, reptiles, small mammals, and horses represent smaller numbers.
Doting With Dollars
The amount of money Americans spend to keep their pets happy is also on the rise. In 2015, pet owners spent almost $61 billion on food, toys, furnishings, and other pet goods, a 25 percent jump from five years before, according to APPA. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources seems to suggest that this type of spending is more resistant to economic shifts, such as the recent recession. And there’s reason to believe demographics will support this trend long-term, particularly as pet-centric millennials move into homes. Last year, a story in Adweek suggested the fact that many millennials see pets as “starter children” offers an opportunity for brands.