Pet Retailers to Promote Dog-​Associated Happiness

BY Rachel Cagle
Featured image for “Pet Retailers to Promote Dog-​Associated Happiness”

"The well-​respected survey that’s been a barometer of American politics, culture and behavior for more than four decades finally got around to the question that has bedeviled many a household: dog or cat?"

"In 2018, the General Social Survey for the first time included a battery of questions on pet ownership. The findings not only quantified the nation’s pet population, nearly six in 10 households have at least one, they made it possible to see how pet ownership overlaps with all sorts of factors of interest to social scientists."

"Like happiness."

According to AudienceSCAN, 53.6% of consumers who Want to Get a New Pet in the Next 12 Months want to make purchases that help them feel more comfortable (53.6%) and relaxed (36.5%) this year. Happiness radiated by animals isn't just conveyed in-​person; the consumers just have to see the animals. The TV is where 42.7% of these consumers get most of their local news and, last year, 70.2% took action after seeing a TV commercial. Within the last six months, 29.3% have looked up a commercial on YouTube, 62.7% have used a mobile device to watch an online or streamed video and 31.4% used their mobile devices to take pictures of the things they're considering buying."Dog owners are about twice as likely as cat owners to say they’re very happy, with people owning both falling somewhere in between, reports The Washington Post."

"Dog people, in other words, are slightly happier than those without any pets. Those in the cat camp, on the other hand, are significantly less happy than the pet-​less. And having both appears to cancel each other out happiness-wise."

"These differences are quite large: The happiness divide between dog and cat owners is bigger than the one between people who identify as middle and upper class, and nearly as large as the gap between those who say they’re in “fair” versus “good or excellent” health."

"However, correlation doesn’t equal causation, and there are probably a number of other differences between dog and cat owners that account for some of the differences. The General Social Survey data show that dog owners, for instance, are more likely to be married and own their own homes than cat owners, both factors known to affect happiness and life satisfaction."

"Other research makes the case that some of the pet-​happiness relationship is causal, at least when it comes to canines. A 2013 study found, for instance, that dog owners are more likely to engage in outdoor physical activity than people who don’t own dogs, with obvious benefits for health and happiness."

"Research also has shown that dog owners are more likely than other folks to form friendships with people in their neighborhoods on the basis of the random encounters that happen when they’re out walking their pets. Those social connections likely contribute to greater well-​being among dog owners."

"The General Social Survey also asked a number of questions about how people interact with their pets, and the answers may also explain some of the happiness gap. Dog owners, for instance, are more likely to seek comfort from their pet in times of stress, more likely to play with their pet, and more likely to consider their pet a member of their family. Those differences suggest a stronger social bond with their pets, which could create a greater sense of well-​being."

It doesn't seem as if there's an ineffective way to advertise dogs for sale. According to AudienceSCAN, last year, 62.1% of consumers who Want to Get a New Pet in the Next 12 Months took action after receiving direct mail ads and 54.7% were driven to action by a radio ad they heard either over-​the-​air or digitally. They're also 42% more likely than other adults to take action because of outdoor ads they see and 35% more likely to click on text link ads on websites. Also within the last year, 54.1% reacted to email ads they received and 52.7% were driven to action by ads they saw in both online and print newspapers.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.