Despite its current popularity, dog daycare was once a farfetched idea – at least it was when Dogtopia entered the scene in 2002. Since then, we have seen its immense growth as it has flourished over the years into the multi-billion-dollar industry it is today.

This progression can be seen with the success of our very own Dogtopia franchises. In 2008, we only had a handful of franchise locations, and now we project to have 400 locations across North America by 2023. This is in large part thanks to the trends in the pet care industry that unceasingly remain popular (even throughout the pandemic), and that are likely to grow even more in the future.

Who does the pet industry owe this great success to? Pet parents! Without its core audience base, the industry wouldn’t be where it is today. Breaking that audience down into their demographics, Baby Boomers and Millennials are helping to fuel industry growth thanks to their sustained interest in providing for their pups.

Baby Boomers are those who were born between 1946 and 1964, while Millennials were born between 1981 and the mid-1990s. Though they tend to have very different hobbies and lifestyles, the common thread that connects these two generations is their investment in their pets.

Baby Boomers & the Pet Industry

Baby Boomers were the first generation of Americans to bring pets into their homes as furry family members and are largely to thank for the boom in the initial success of the pet care industry, as well as contributing to its present growth. As of this year, Baby Boomers represent 27% of pet owners in the United States, which surpasses the generation that comes after, Generation X. Boomers have seen a 4% increase in dog ownership in the past decade, with approximately 1.4 million of U.S. Boomers owning puppies under a year old, and 5.2 million with dogs between one and three years old. This generation is much more likely to have a dog as they age, accounting for a continuous stream of annual spending to care for their pups.

Millennials & the Pet Industry

Millennials dominate the pet industry, as they represent 32% of pet parents – making them the primary demographic to own a pet in the U.S.

Of the Millennials who are pet owners, 82% own a dog, and they spend money across various sectors of the pet industry, such as food, care, and pet products. This spending activity is especially noticeable in the eCommerce space, as 70% of Millennials purchase food and treats online, while 66% purchase other pet supplies online. This added element of online buying in tandem with the fact that Millennials have grown up in the digital age allows for a significant impact on the industry that other generations do not necessarily bring.

In terms of selecting pet retailers, Millennials are looking for those who best understand their needs. Almost 63% of this generation with pets believe that mass retailers and grocery stores lack the required expertise, in part because they value high-quality products and optimal service for their four-legged family members.

Significant life events also look a bit different for this generation, as more Millennials are waiting to have children, while economic stresses like student loans and the housing market are delaying traditional milestones like home ownership. Therefore, caring for their pet plays a much more significant role in their lives. In fact, Millennial pet owners view their pets like children compared to other generations, and 92% buy them items like clothing and treats.

Spending During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The pet industry has been on a steady incline even throughout the pandemic, thanks to an upward trend of spending habits. 33% of Millennials say they have spent more on their pup during the pandemic than compared to Baby Boomers, while 58% of all dog owners do not have a designated budget to spend on their dog, which leaves room for purchasing quality products from reputable retailers.

What This Means for the future of Dog Daycare

The pet daycare and lodging market is expected to reach $8.24B between 2020 and 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 7%. As Baby Boomers and Millennials make up the two largest generations of pet owners, this is great news for franchisees. Not only is there a market for pet care, but the pet parents who are engaging directly within this market are willing to put in the effort to find brands and retailers that support them and their pups.

Franchise opportunities in the pet industry have reached new heights throughout the pandemic, and the wave of post-pandemic puppies (an increase in puppy adoptions and pet parents going back to work) is already upon us. Due to the sheer volume of pet owners and the motivation of quality care to back them up, doggie daycare is an ideal franchise investment. Since both generations are likely to own younger dogs, doggie daycares provide them with the socialization and mental stimulation they are looking for as their dogs grow.

If you are looking to get into the booming pet industry,  click here to learn more about our franchising opportunities.