Buoyed by the ongoing pets-as-family phenomenon and the “pet parent” sentiment that accompanies it, the pet industry managed to resist the recession and in fact demonstrate growth in 2009, according to U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2010-2011: Tapping into Post-Recession Pet Parent Spending, by market research publisher Packaged Facts.   

“The pet market has fared well overall despite the recession, and Packaged Facts attributes this performance to a number of factors that will also be integral to its even better performance in 2010 and 2011,” says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “Chief among these factors is the human/animal bond, which is an excellent insulator against recessionary cutbacks, and the ‘pet parent’ sentiment has never been higher.”

Packaged Facts pegs the pet market at $53 billion market (which includes veterinary services, pet food, non-food pet supplies, and non-medial pet services), and expects growth in the industry as the economy moves from recession to recovery. Pent-up pet parent demand for products and services that both enhance pet health and pamper animal companions will begin to kick in during 2010. And Packaged Facts projects sales will reach $72 billion by 2014.

Simply put, many pet owners are as unlikely to seriously cut back on spending for the “pet” family as they are for their “human” family, and in many cases would do so only after reducing spending on their own less essential needs.  Such tendencies have typified the behavior of pet owners across the economic spectrum, be they affluent or middle class consumers. What’s more, even those pet owners who may have cut back in other areas continued to spend on small indulgences for their pets, which partially explains the increase in sales of items such as dog treats and cat snacks during 2009.

“U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2010-2011: Tapping into Post-Recession Pet Parent Spending,” conducted by Packaged Facts.  Web. 2  Mar.  2010.