Home Daily Care Which country spends the most on its pets? – The Economist

Which country spends the most on its pets? – The Economist

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AMERICANS ADORE their pets. Roughly two in three households own one, according to the American Pet Products Association, a trade group. Dogs are loved most of all: they outnumber cats by about five to four, according to GfK, a market-research firm. Nowhere is America’s devotion to dogs more evident than at the Westminster Dog Show, which took place in New York City from February 8th to 11th. More than 2,600 dogs were clipped, washed and blow-dried by their doting handlers in the hopes of taking home the coveted best-in-show title. Cost is no object for these pampered pooches. By one estimate, caring for a top show dog can set you back more than $250,000 a year.

The pet industry is booming beyond the world of competitions. According to Euromonitor International, a research firm, the pet-care market has grown by over 66% in the last decade, while the global economy has expanded by just 43%. Americans spent more than $52bn on their pets in 2019, up from $34bn in 2009. Most of that went on food, but over $18bn was spent on pet supplies and accessories. On a per-person basis, no other country comes close to splashing out as much as America on such products. Britain spent $93 per person last year, on average, while France shelled out $87 (see chart).

What accounts for the sector’s howling success? As people grow wealthier, their attitudes to domestic animals tend to change. A poll conducted in 2015 found that 95% of American pet-owners considered their animals part of the family—up from 88% in 2007. It is little wonder owners are spending money on their furry companions. And the range of pet products available today extends far beyond food, to exercise wheels for cats and designer clothes for dogs. Barbour, a posh British outdoor-clothing brand, sells a range of fetching jackets and accessories for dogs. If your pooch likes the finer things in life, you can treat it to a luxury collar from Louis Vuitton—a steal at just under $400.

With so much money splashing on pets, you might suppose that some would trickle down to the prize-winning pooches at competitions like Westminster. But no cash is awarded at this week’s event. In the dog-eat-dog world of competitive canines, you’d think they might throw a dog a bone.

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