Thursday, January 24, 2008

Looking Toward 2008

The pet industry has been called recession-resistant by many people, myself included, as it stood up to economic shocks in 2002 and again in 2005 after hurricane Katrina.

This year may test that theory, however. A decade of strong growth has created some fluff in an industry that has been growing like a balloon, in every direction at once. Balloon, bubble...we think slowing growth or contraction in certain segments is inevitable in 2008.

Sure, pet owners will continue to spend money on their companions in tough times, but on what? The latest available data from the Department of Labor show spending on pet purchases and supplies declined 20% in 2006 from the year before, while the other segments of food, services and veterinary services grew but at a much slower pace.

Just like humans, spending constraints will probably result in cutting out non-essential products and services, but with some interesting twists. Higher income demographics are supporting more and more of the industry each year.

Two new reports on U.S. pet owner spending are out.

How much money Americans spend on pet food by age, income, region and family composition.

How much we spend at the vet each year.

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