Pet Owners Motivated to Spoil Furry Friends in 2020
For those of us with a furry friend or two—or more—at home, one of the best parts of staying home during COVID-19 is getting to spend more time with them. Many of us who had dogs to walk were very grateful for that during full lockdown earlier in the pandemic, and it has been great fun on our many Zoom calls to see colleagues and contacts bring their cats, dogs, and other furry friends into view on camera. In fact, in our recent study 29% of participants report that their pet is also their “work buddy”, attending meetings and “chatting” with co-workers on video conferences.
Those of us without a furry friend at home felt left out and—according to our recent study—14% of participants welcomed a new pet since mid-March 2020. Study participants also report greater feelings of love, companionship and friendship with their pets as 2020 put the brakes on commutes, travel, activities outside the home and other distractions from the pet relationship. During our recent webinar, “The Not So Secret Life of Pets,” an in-session poll found 68% of attendees are spending more time with their pets. And it isn’t just more love, pets have helped (55%) people maintain routines during a time where life is anything but routine—providing comfort in times of uncertainty.
With all this extra “pawrent” time, pet parents are projecting emotions on to their pets as well, seeing a rise in clingy behavior, confusion and anxiety—especially now that parents, after being fully stuck at home for many months, now may be more out and about as restrictions are lifted.
More time with our pets has been correlating with more spending on our pets. Our study participants report spending more money on treats (23%), buying more soft treats (20%), and buying more biscuits (18%). Motivations for this increased buying behavior include desire to spoil our pets, give them treats for good behavior, stocking up in case of future shortages, and providing variety for perceived pet boredom.