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How the Pandemic Helped Boost the Pet Economy

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If you’ve brought a new family member home in the past several months – one that’s a maybe a bit furrier than the others – you’re not alone. Many Americans have taken in a new four-legged friend this year, a trend that could help sustain the pet economy despite the recession.

Puppies are in demand. Does it feel like everyone has a golden retriever these days? The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a “surge” in dog sales and adoptions, according to the Washington Post. The article noted that when it came to dogs in particular, shelters, nonprofit rescues, private breeders, and pet stores all reported more demand than the number of available canines.


Increased pet ownership has helped boost the pet economy despite a recession, via spending on supplies.


Some breeders said they had wait lists that went well into 2021. Shelter animals are getting a lot of love, too. So far, 11 million US homes have welcomed a new pet during the pandemic according to a Mars Petcare report

The pet industry could jump. Thanks to an increase in the number of new pet parents, the pet supply industry – valued at $95 million – might benefit. Early reports from retailers suggest this industry could once again dodge a downturn as it did during the past two economic recessions, the National Retail Federation notes.

Loyal to our loyal friends. Why has the pet industry has been so resilient even during recessions? One reason is that pets are increasingly viewed as members of the family, Entrepreneur notes. And no one wants to deprive family of a special treat (or two).

And as the above report from the National Retail Federation points out: “[The] pet supply industry has been hailed as one of those that never sees a downturn in business, since pet owners see their charges as family members with necessary expenses.”

Spending on Sparky. Who’s a good boy? Apparently lots of dogs (and other animals) around the country. In both July and August 2020, spending on pets and related products grew 10% year-over-year, according to data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, with a $2 billion increase between the first and second quarters of the year.


But lack of travel could hurt some aspects of the pet market like boarding services.


Beyond a rise in ownership, Goldman Sachs analysts noted other habits that could help keep the pet market up, including the “premiumization of pet products,” as well as more pet parents buying pet food and supplies online, while also opting for auto-renew options.

A pause on the pet parade. There are some reasons not to be so paw-sitive about the pet industry, however. 17% of pet owners said they are now spending less on their furry friend than they were before the pandemic, according to a survey by LendingTree. And fewer pet parents are traveling this year, which could result in a nearly 50% drop in non-medical pet services spending this year (like boarding), according to forecasts made earlier this year by market research firm Package Facts.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.