Pet merchandising is big business, especially with millennials loving their pets as much, if not more, than humans. Picture: DressTheDog.com
Pet merchandising is big business, especially with millennials loving their pets as much, if not more, than humans. Picture: DressTheDog.com

New York — Millennials love their pets, and that love’s showing up on their holiday credit-card bills.

The much-discussed generation of shoppers, known for their industry-disrupting tastes, will spend heavily on their pets this holiday season — more than double what consumers overall are expected to pony up, according to a report from PwC.

Millennial households earning $70,000 or more will be the biggest spenders, forking out more than an average of $183 for pet gifts this holiday, compared to the $67 that overall consumers will spend, according to PwC. High-earning millennials, feeling good about the economy, will spend an average of $2,021 on all gifts this holiday season — including for humans.

The holiday spending comes as pet owners increasingly treat their animals like members of their families — a trend known as “humanisation” — boosting spending for premium pet food and toys.

“It’s the same kind of joy you get when you bring home a gift to a small child,” said Lori Kogan, a psychologist and clinical sciences professor at Colorado State University.

Pet stores are trying to cash in on the trend. Petco is rolling out products targeted at gift-seeking consumers, with Christmas and Hanukkah-themed stockings, toys and treats already on shelves. The company is also gearing its latest dog apparel brand, “Reddy,” toward millennial shoppers, according to chief merchandising officer Alex Tomey, who says, “Millennial consumers are fanatics about their pets.” 

Christopher Rivera makes that clear. Rivera — who works at an Unleashed by Petco, a small-format store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side — said he’s already bought a laser pointer for his 19-year-old cat, Ajani. With the holidays around the corner, the Bronx-native is now thinking about what else to put under the tree.

“I’m going to just give her some extra treats, maybe one of those Christmas trees that have the catnip in them,” he said, noting that his cat is “equal priority” as friends and family when it comes to holiday gifts. “My cat is my sole responsibility; she’s a perpetual kid.”

Bloomberg