According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent roughly $55.7 billion on their pets in 2013. The association, which started keeping records of American pet owner spending in 1996, has witnessed a 4 to 6 percent increase per year across the last 18 years. While we can all agree that the money we spent to keep our pets comfortable and happy is certainly well worth it, what is it exactly that accounts for this exorbitant number? Experts believe that it has to do with the continuing humanization of pets, particularly among parents whose children have left home.
"What is feeding a large part of the growth now are the baby boomers who have become empty-nesters and are looking for some other ways to find the love and affection they used to get from their kids," Bob Vetere, APPA CEO told Inc. magazine.
The single largest category from the reported $55.7 billion was pet food, accounting for $21.6 billion of the total. The next three largest pieces of the pie were veterinary care, supplies such as cleaning products and toys, over-the-counter medicine and live animal purchases, which cost Americans $14.4 billion, $13.1 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively. To offer context to those astronomical figures, 2012 saw Americans spending just under $44 billion on soft drinks.
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