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Pets and Spending in Central Pennsylvania

Pets and Spending in Central Pennsylvania
September 2015
Category: Retail

More and more over the last several years we have seen a significant increase in the number of services and products that are solely focused on our pets. Face it, there are just as many choices in the pet food aisle at the grocery store as there are regular food (or so it may seem sometimes.) Let's not even get started on the doggie wardrobes that are available. Nonetheless, the pet industry has grown tremendously. Pet owners in the United States spent approximately $60 billion on their loving companions last year alone, breaking records in this category. 
 
Pet Ownership in Central Pennsylvania
So, how many Central Pennsylvania households seek the companionship of a pet in their homes? - The answer is just under 530,000 or 57.8% of the total households. Across the nine counties that make up the Central Pennsylvania region, pet ownership rates range from 53.2% to 66.0% with Dauphin County having the lowest pet ownership rate and Perry County having the highest.
 
Cats vs. Dogs
What is the favorite type of pet for Central Pennsylvania households? Dogs top the list, outranking cat households by about 1.6 to 1. There are just about 400,000 households that own at least 1 dog vs. 244,000 households that own at least 1 cat. Dog ownership rates in the region range from 38.7% to 52.0% and cat ownership rates range from 24.3% to 33.1%. 
 
In the case of having 1 dog or cat versus have multiple dogs or multiple cats, more households prefer to only have one although the gap between single-pet ownership and multiple pet ownership is not that large in most cases. In dog households, about 58.45% have one dog compared to 41.65% that have multiple. Cat households have a slightly higher percentage of multiple pet ownership that dog households do. About 54% of cat households are single-pet households versus 46% that are multiple-pet households.
 
 The graph above demonstrates household ownership rates of dogs and cats in the nine counties that make up the Central Pennsylvania region. The data is based on households that own either 1 cat or dog or multiples and is a percentage of the total households in each county. The blue bars represent dog ownership, while the red bars represent cat ownership.

Veterinary Office Visits
In the last 12 months, over 390,000 households in Central Pennsylvania took their pet to see the vet at least 1 time, which represents about 74.3% of the pet-owning households in the region. A large percentage of this demographic set visited the vet more than one time over the last year. Just over 25% of the pet-owning households took their pet to the vet one time, while 49.3% took their pet to the vet 2 or more times. 
 
 
 
The graph above demonstrates the total number of vet visits in the past 12 months broken down by the number of times a household visited a veterinary office in Central Pennsylvania. The blue section represents those households who only visited the vet once, red represents those who visited twice, and grey are those who went to the vet 3 or more times.
 

Where do Central Pennsylvania households shop for pet food? - Consumer Behaviors
Now we know how many households have pets and how often they take them to the vet, but where do the Central Pennsylvania, pet-owning households purchase their pet food?  Here are some facts about this specific consumer behavior in our market place:
 
  • Over half of the pet-owning households purchase their pet's food in a grocery store
  •  Pet specialty stores rank high up on the list as a place where households purchase food for their pets. In fact, 37.0% of households will go to a pet specialty store for food
  • The two places where households are least likely to purchase their pet food is at the vet's office and whole sale clubs
  • 20.7% of pet-owning households purchased food from PetSmart, while 14.3% purchased food from PETCO

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