Pet Industry Spending Expected to Exceed $50 Billion in 2011

31-Mar-2011 | News-Press Release

(Greenwich, CT—March 17, 2011) – Pet owners are buying more than bare necessities when it comes to their pets. In fact, according to the industry’s leading trade association’s spending figures, they are willing to pay almost any price when it comes to caring for their pets.

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) just released the annual comprehensive review of spending data and reports, which shows overall spending in the pet industry (including food, supplies/OTC medications, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other services such as grooming, boarding, and pet sitting) grew by 6.2% from $45.53 billion in 2009 to a little over $48 billion in 2010, with only sales of live animals declining slightly from 2009.

The pet industry continues to show resilience despite the economic crisis and APPA is even projecting a 5.1% increase in spending to exceed $50 billion dollars in the coming year.

Health-care related pet spending continues to show the greatest growth within the pet industry with spending on veterinary care growing by 8.1% growth from 2009. Pet owners are becoming even more aware of their pet’s health, often being proactive with regard to veterinarian care and using specialty formula foods, supplements, as well as advanced, and at times, costly treatment options to ensure their pet remains healthy. Of all categories, veterinary care has the largest anticipated growth at 8.5% that would result in an estimated $14.11 billion in spending in 2011.

Pet services is another category that has experienced sustained and diversified growth in response to the increasing demands pet owners face in their every day lives. High-end grooming, luxury pet hotels and specialized daycare centers are fueling new growth in the high-end demographic of pet owners. Pet owners are choosing to take their pets with them whenever possible, but if they have to leave their pet behind, they want to pamper and spoil them. The service category has more than doubled in the past decade and accounted for $3.51 billion spent in 2010.

Supplies and over-the-counter medications showed steady although slower than anticipated growth in 2010 at 5%.

Here’s a look at how the costs breakdown.





2009 Actual

2010 Actual

% Growth

2011 Estimate

% Growth




($ Billion)


($ Billion)


2010 vs 2009

($ Billion)


($ Billion)

























Supplies/ OTC Med










Veterinary Care











Live Animal Purchases










Other Services




































APPA President, Bob Vetere says that veterinary and health related services are growing at a fast rate because pet owners are treating their pets as they would their children. Highest quality nutrition, healthcare, and preventative maintenance for pets means they are living longer and happier lives.

“Pet owners are searching for more ways to enhance their pets’ lives with products and services similar to those that humans enjoy,” said Vetere. “And the industry has answered that call with a more diverse array of offerings than ever.”

Vetere said, “Pet owners aren’t just looking to provide a home for their pets, they are investing in their pets’ quality of life. Often times they do this at their own expense, cutting personal expenses, but not those affecting their faithful companions.”

When considering the pet industry exceeded 2010 forecasts despite tough economic times, APPA projects continued growth in 2011 with spending surpassing $50 billion for the first time.

“The pet industry continues to demonstrate similarities to other major industries, particularly the baby industry, in that more and more products are introduced each year in response to consumer demand. It seems many pet owners have accepted that their pets are like children and they enjoy indulging their pet more than ever. It is easier for pet owners to spend on their pets than other relationships in their lives because pets have no expectations,” said Vetere. 

A huge area of potential growth is in pet insurance, which is included in veterinary care figures.  With improved policies that include more conditions, even at increased premiums, pet insurance will become more attractive for pet owners and more lucrative for insurance carriers and veterinary hospitals.

“An ever present interest in technology, increased efforts in research for pet healthcare and a steady interest from entrepreneurs and investors in the pet industry, is going to translate into tremendous growth. Pet owners are hungry for the next big thing, and will continue to shower their pets with purchases intended to make life easier for pets and their owners,” said Vetere. 


The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958.  APPA membership includes nearly 1,000 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers, and livestock suppliers representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises.  APPA's mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. Visit www.americanpetproducts.orgfor more information.


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