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Health Spending To Fuel Pet Industry Growth

A study found that high-grade pet foods and preventative veterinary care will hold up despite a falling economy.

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Health-related pet spending on higher-grade pet foods and preventative veterinary care will continue to propel the U.S. pet market despite the economic slow-down, according to “U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2009-2010: Surviving and Thriving in Challenging Economic Times.” The report is by Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research Group of New York.

Non-discretionary pet spending, notably non-food pet supplies and non-veterinary pet services, will be the hardest hit by the current recession, according to the report.

The report forecasts the market will grow 6 percent this year to about $53 billion, from $51 billion in 2008. The market’s growth will accelerate with the anticipated economic recovery in 2010 and 2011, growing an estimated 7.5 percent in 2010 to about $57 billion, Packaged Facts reported.

Overall, Packaged Facts projects that the U.S. pet market will grow at a 7.1-percent compound annual rate from 2008 to 2013, up from 6.4 percent in the previous five-year period (2004-2008).

Growth through 2013 will be driven by steady growth in the veterinary category, which surpassed pet food to become the industry’s largest component in 2008.

“Packaged Facts views pet humanization as a dynamic, multifaceted shift that virtually guarantees steady pet market sales not just in 2009 and 2010, but well beyond,” said Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts. “Many pet owners view their pets as full-fledged members of the family, and would take no more lightly any serious cutbacks on spending for non-discretionary products and services than they would for their kids. In most cases, such cutbacks would only seriously be considered after owners have reduced spending on their own less-essential needs.”

Health spending, including higher-grade pet foods, should remain recession-resistant because consumers see that spending as non-discretionary and cheaper in the long run than health issues caused by poor nutrition or inadequate veterinary care, according to Packaged Facts.

The new report includes data from a survey of 2,600 pet owners conducted in February 2009.

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