Americans still are spending on their pets. The American Pet Products Association projected that consumers spent $47.7 billion on their furry friends in 2010, an increase of 4.9% over 2009.
Sales of pet beds, leashes and inexpensive toys still were strong sellers. Treat-dispensing toys, such as Premier Pet Products’ Busy Buddy, are must-have items. When priced right, they generate strong impulse purchases.
Pet food sales were up 4% in 2010, according to the APPA. Pet supplies and over-the-counter products showed even stronger growth, up nearly 6% in 2010 — a trend that should continue as pets live longer and develop more age-associated problems. Animal obesity also is on the rise, and pet food formulas are targeting health benefits.
“Functional benefits that we’ve seen in human food have made their way to the pet food category,” said Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry. New food products touting such benefits as probiotics and antioxidants, as well as such ingredients as essential fatty acids, glucosamine and even acai, are making their way into the market.
Pet owners also show less resistance to splurge on pet treats. Petfood Industry data indicated that 80% of all dog owners bought treats for their pets. About one-half of dog owners bought up to five packages of treats in 12 months, and 60% have purchased chews in the past 12 months. Among cat owners, nearly 70% bought treats in the past year.