Americans Will Spend $75 Billion on Their Pets This Year

December 16, 2019, 4:27 PM UTC
GOLDEN, CO - FEBRUARY 3: Hannah Reichstein, left, holds a stuffie as her dog Jackson, left, plays with one of his litter mates Malibu, right, both 6 months, outside of the Golden Visitor's center on February 3, 2019 in Golden, Colorado. Hundreds of Golden Retrievers and their owners gathered outside of the Golden's visitor center to celebrate International Golden Retrievers day. The event was organized by the City of Golden and Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies. Organizers had anticipated about 100 dogs would show up for the event with their owners. But organizers counted 911 crossing the Washington Ave. Bridge. They said that many more Goldens attended the event and joined the event from other points. Visit Golden and the Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies confidently estimate more than 1,000 Golden Retrievers gathered in Golden today. This is many more than the unofficial World Record set in Scotland where 361 Golden retrievers gathered to mark 150 years of the breed. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Helen H. Richardson—MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

How devoted are Americans to their pets?

Add up the 2018 annual budgets of the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Interior and Labor and Transportation—and toss in NASA’s estimated spend for that year and the number still won’t match what we will drop on Fido and Fluffy this year.

That’s according to the American Pet Products Association, which estimates 2019 spending on pets will hit $75.38 billion, a 3.8% increase over the $72.56 we spend last year.

Just under $32 billion of that will go towards food, but toys, collars and other “supplies” (along with over the counter medicine) will generate $16.44 billion in sales, says the group.

Not surprisingly, a lot of that spending will take place at this time of year. A recent study by SunTrust Banks found that pet owners will spend an average of $137 on their four-legged friends this holiday season.

Dogs are much more likely to get a present than cats (they are, after all, man’s best friend). Some 59% of canine owners say they’ll buy their pooch a gift, versus just 34% of cat owners. Treats and toys top the lists for both common pets, with holiday clothing coming in second.

Unfortunately, just as many people want to impress friends and family with their generosity, some feel the need to impress their animal companions, as well.

“For many people, pets are members of the family, so it’s expected that we would want to include them in the holiday fun,” said Brian Nelson Ford, financial well-being executive at SunTrust in a statement. “Our studies show that the holiday season often comes with pressure to overspend. Gifts for pets, friends, neighbors and other obligations can add to the pressure when the spending is unplanned.”

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