Americans love their pets — but you already knew that.

by Placerville Newswire / Jan 27, 2017 / comments

A recent report from Acosta, a sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, provides some data on just how big the "pet parenting boom" is, both economically and culturally.

Nearly 80 million households in the U.S. own a pet, representing 60 percent of the entire population, the report explains. All in all, pets make up a nearly $30 billion business.

“The pet category is an important one, as its total sales surpass popular categories such as dairy and candy,” said Colin Stewart, senior vice president at Acosta. “Fortunately for brands and retailers, the two largest generations — baby boomers and millennials — also represent the two biggest age groups for pet ownership, which means we can expect continued growth in this category, especially since millennials are just now entering their prime spending years.”

Here are 10 important things to know about pets and their owners in the U.S.:

-- 94 percent of pet owners indicate their pets are part of the family, with 80 percent treating them like children.

-- 42 percent of pet owners allow their animals to sleep in their beds.

-- 94 percent of baby boomers talk to their pets daily, versus 64 percent of Gen Xers and only 47 percent of millennials.

-- 67 percent of millennials take photos of their pets regularly, and 63 percent upload the photos to social media.

-- 50 percent of pet owners include their pets in family holiday cards.

-- 46 percent of pet owners report they purchase products they think will provide a wellness benefit to their pets.

-- 36 percent of pet owners spend more than $500 annually on pet medical expenses and $200 per year on regular grooming.

-- 60 percent of millennials purchase nonessential pet items at least once a week, versus 28 percent of Gen Xers and 8 percent of Boomers.

-- 60 percent of pet owners report celebrating their pets’ birthdays in some fashion, which for more than half of Millennial and 40 percent of Gen X pet owners means giving their animals birthday gifts.

-- The top three drivers for pet owners’ retailer selection included price, variety of products and convenience.

“Pet owners shop for their animals much in the same way they shop for themselves,” Stewart said. “Retailers can apply key best practices in grocery to the retail pet channel as well, including appealing to millennials, emphasizing health and wellness, and improving convenience to increase shopper loyalty.”

Read the full report