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Santa Paws Is Coming to Town: Pet Owners Spend Big During the Holidays
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Santa Paws Is Coming to Town: Pet Owners Spend Big During the Holidays

The holidays can be just as much fun for pets as for children, and this year, many festive animal lovers will be showering their furry loved ones with gifts. Just how deep are our ties with our pets? According to a Nielsen survey conducted by Harris Poll, 95% of U.S. pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family. In fact, people treat their furry companions more like family members than ever, pampering them with treats, gifts and toys.

With over half of Americans (60%) owning pets—and a large majority owning either a dog or a cat (65% and 53% of pet owners, respectively)—it’s no wonder pet sales soar around the holidays. This year, 37% of Americans, and over half of pet owners (52%), are planning to purchase toys, treats or other products as gifts for a pet. Interestingly, 13% of those who do not have a pet still plan to purchase toys for one this season.

The numbers are nothing to bark at: U.S. pet owners spend on average $1.5 billion monthly on pet care items. But as we close in on Christmas, spending on pet care jumps. In 2014, sales totaled $1.6 billion in the four weeks ending Nov. 29, 2014, and $1.7 billion in the four weeks ending Dec. 27, 2014.

But with the year-end holidays, pet toy sales see an extra boost, topping $78 million in the four weeks ending Dec. 27, 2014! The rest of the year pales in comparison with average monthly sales of $33 million. Fido and friends also score big in the accessories department, with sales increasing 55% surrounding the holidays to $83,272.053 in the four weeks ending Dec. 27, 2014!

For the lucky pets out there, yuletide stockings will likely be filled with toys, and tasty treats will await them under the tree this year. And savvy retailers can help pet parents spend big with well-stocked shelves.

Methodology

Pet care data is for the total U.S. (all outlets combined, plus convenience stores – including grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers, convenience stores, select dollar stores, select warehouse clubs and military commissaries). The article also includes insights derived from the following sources:

  • An English-language survey conducted by the Harris Poll® of 2,205 U.S. adults, 1,323 of whom have at least one pet, surveyed online between May 20, 2015, and May 26, 2015.
  • An English-language survey conducted by the Harris Poll® of 2,205 U.S. adults surveyed online between Oct. 15, 2015, and Oct. 20, 2014.