Forbes Magazine: 11/14/2009
The unemployment rate may be north of 10%, but pet-product makers are booming.
According to the National Pet Owners Survey, about 71 million U.S. households, or 62%, owned at least one pet in 2008, up from just 56% in 1988, the first year the survey was conducted. Money lavished on pets has increased at a far faster clip, to an estimated $45 billion this year (more than a third of which goes to food), nearly double the $23 billion spent just a decade ago.
A big driver: empty nesters with no one to dote on. People over age 60 used to eschew pets, “but the baby boomers are changing all that,” says Bob Vetere, president of American Pet Products Association.