Six signs pets are the economy's new big spenders
At just what point cats and dogs became full-fledged members of the family is difficult to determine. But today, pets' elevated status is apparent—Some 82.5 million American households, or 68 percent, include domestic animals. Americans spent an all-time-high $55.7 billion on their pets last year, and spending will inch close to $60 billion this year, according to recently released APPA data. That's a huge jump from 1996, when total pet spending was just $21 billion.
It starts with the $2.2 billion spent on live animal purchases last year, but it doesn't end there. Read on for six signs that the 'pet boom' is upon us.
1. Pet insurance
Forget about Obamacare adoption; pet insurance is quickly growing.
More and more companies are offering pet insurance as a perk to employees, with one in three Fortune 500 companies providing coverage.
Wal-Mart introduced store-branded pet insurance plans at select Canadian stores last year, marking their entry into an industry with an average growth rate of 13 percent a year, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Wal-Mart is following in the footsteps of outdoor-gear retailer Cabela's, which introduced pet insurance in 2011.
There's still plenty of room to grow: Less than 1 percent of America's 160 million cats and dogs are insured. Of the $55 billion that Americans spent last year on pets, $14.4 billion went to veterinary care.
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