Surveying the Field

I just got my copy of the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, and once again the American Pet Products Association (APPA) has put together a really comprehensive consumer study. Along with general ownership figures (for example, 46.7 percent of U.S. households included a pet dog in 2012, up from 39 percent in 2010), the survey revealed a variety of other insightful trends in the pet world, including: 

• Independent pet specialty stores gained some ground on the pet superstores in 2012. Seventy-six percent of dog owners reported that they shopped at a local independent pet store last year, up from just 62 percent in 2010. Similar gains were reported among all pet ownership segments:

Cat: 71 percent (2012) vs. 51 percent (2010)

Freshwater Fish: 85 percent vs. 69 percent

Saltwater Fish: 95 percent vs. 91 percent

Bird: 85 percent vs. 81 percent

Small Animal: 90 percent vs. 74 percent

Reptile: 93 percent vs. 83 percent

What’s more, the frequency of visits to independent pet stores rose among all pet ownership segments, except for freshwater fish.

• On the negative side, 23 percent of all pet owners who participated in the survey reported that they were spending less on their animals because of economic reasons. That is a significant contrast to the results from 2010, when just 16 percent of responding pet owners said that the state of the economy was causing them to spend less on their animals.

• Not surprisingly, natural pet food marketers received some good news from the survey, which reported that these diets are growing in popularity among pet owners. For example, the percentage of dog owners who purchased natural and/or organic pet foods increased in 2012, regardless of whether the dog was small, medium or large.


• Another development that should come as no surprise was the fact that more pet owners reported using the Internet as a major source of information about their companion animals. For example, the percentage of dog owners who look for pet-related information online rose from 34 percent in 2010 to 43 percent in 2012.


This is just a small taste of the pages and pages of valuable information that can be found in the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. For more information about the survey, or to order a copy, visit