Consumer Behavior of Pet Lovers

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2020 was a year of growth for pet ownership in the United States, with as many as 70% of households owning a pet. This all-time high in pet ownership has been fueled by the isolation many have felt during the coronavirus lockdowns and the need for companionship. As more people have adopted pets, the demand for pet care services has increased. Along with pet care services like grooming and pet-sitting services, the current upward trend in pet adoptions has led to supply shortages (e.g., pet treats) in the pet retail industry.

To find out how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the pet services industry in 2021, we analyzed the personas of consumers identified as ‘Pet Lovers’ and ranked all 50 states and Washington D.C. in order of prevalence. If a state had a higher percentage of residents fitting the ‘Pet Lovers’ persona, we gave it a higher rank on the list. We also compared each state’s rank in 2021 to see exactly how consumer personas in each state have changed since 2019.

Pet Lover Consumer Behavior by State

Oregon (+22%) has the highest percentage of pet lovers this year. Other states with the most pet lovers are Oklahoma (+20%) and Florida (+20%).

It might be surprising that California (+12%) is one of the states with the lowest percentage of pet lovers, alongside Maryland (+11%), and D.C. (+8%). This could indicate that pet lovers in these states are still shopping online for pet essentials rather than going to brick-and-mortar stores, which may have been closed during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

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Consumer Interest in Pets: 2019 vs. 2021

California, D.C., and Maryland all saw significant declines in pet lovers. For example, D.C. shifted from #1 in 2019 to #51 in 2021. Coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns in these states may have caused many consumers to wait on non-essential services like grooming and pet-sitting services. Florida, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island, which had high percentages of pet lovers in 2019, remained at the top of the list in 2021. The Midwest saw a significant increase in consumers interested in pets. People living in Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana are more likely to be pet lovers in 2021.

Predicting Consumer Interest in Pets

Pet ownership rates in the United States aren’t showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. Will the pet industry continue to see growth in 2021? Based on our data, we predict that consumer interest in pets will continue to increase in the Midwest and in parts of the South. Consumer interest in pets may decrease in areas where more consumers are starting to return to the office.  As more consumers return to work, they more than likely won’t be adopting more pets.


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