This is the 4th insight digest from Segmanta’s brand new study, The Big Pet Survey 2020. We surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. pet owners (from July to August 2020) to understand consumer behaviors surrounding their pets, their lifestyle as pet owners, pet-tech usage, social media consumption, and their opinions, emotions, and sentiments as pet owners.


As more Gen Z-ers (currently between the ages of 13-25 years old) enter adulthood, their purchasing power is expected to greatly increase. Our research on Gen Z snackers found that these consumers have unique shopping habits and a massive impact on the marketplace. We will now zoom in on Gen Z pet owners and their distinguishing consumer preferences as they are already redefining many other industries and brands. 


Gen Z-ers Have High Standards For Pet Food

Dry pet food is the primary choice of Gen Z pet owners for their dogs (85%) and cats (76%).  Compared to other surveyed generations, Gen Z pet owners are keener on rewarding their pups and kitties with yummy treats such as cookies, biscuits, and snacks. 

As young consumers, many Gen Z-ers pursue a healthy, natural lifestyle, and how they care for their pets is no exception. According to our study, 1 in 2 Gen Z pet owners provide their dogs and cats with healthy or organic food. As they are more conscious of the ingredients that go into pet food, Gen Z-ers are more likely to purchase the food they view as healthier and eco-friendly for their pets.

More and more Gen Z pet consumers appreciate brands with high quality and sustainable values. The two pet food brands most preferred by Gen Z-ers, according to our study, are Purina and Blue Buffalo, compared to Millennials who are more likely to regularly purchase Hill’sⓇ and MerrickⓇ . Almost half (48%) of Gen Z-ers mainly purchase pet food and treats from supermarkets, highlighting quality, convenience, and the in-store experience for young pet owners.


Gen Z-ers And Their “Furry Babies”

Gen Z-ers interpret the relationship between themselves and their pets slightly differently. They are more likely than other generations to view their four-legged friends as their own children (33%). Gen Z-ers are also by far the most likely generation to celebrate their pets’ birthdays (81%) and dress up their pets for birthdays, holidays, and other festive occasions  (43%). 

The Healing Power Of “Good Boys N’ Good Girls”

More and more Gen Z-ers are reporting mental health issues amongst the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the importance of pets for young people during this time.  Although Gen Z pet owners go the extra mile to care for their beloved pets, they report finding that their beloved pups and kitties return so much love, joy, and comfort. An astonishing 92% of Gen Z pet owners claim that having pets help them reduce their own stress, loneliness, and anxiety.

Almost a half (46%) of Gen Z pet owners also shared that having pets makes them feel safer and 43% say that their pet teaches them to be more responsible. Although COVID-19 has taken a significant toll on humans, most dog owners (62%) report that their dogs benefitted from the extra time spent together.


Gen Z-ers Just Want Their Pets To Have Fun

Even though most pet owners are still not regularly using pet-related tech products, Gen Z-ers are the most likely to consider using pet-tech products (46%). Among those who use pet-tech, Gen Z consumers are most likely to purchase these products for pet entertainment reasons, compared with pet owners from other generations who use pet-tech for safety. As the generation that is more aware of the importance of mental health, Gen Z-ers are apparently most likely to see pet-tech as a solution for their dogs and cats that are left alone at home by themselves.

When Pet Content Goes Viral

Among pet owners, Gen Z-ers tend to consume pet-related content on more social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Tik Tok, and Snapchat, compared to other generations. 61% of Gen Z pet owners follow the viral animal wellbeing channel “The Dodo” and 54% claim they also browse whatever animal content that shows up in their social media feeds. Though Gen Z-ers consume pet-related products across more social media channels, the frequency in which they post content of their pet on their feed, as well as the likelihood that they own a social media account on behalf of their pet, is, in fact, lower than other age groups.


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Generation Z has redefined the relationship between humans and their pets. Not only do they see their pets as an integral part of their family, but they also rely more on their pets for emotional support. Additionally, Gen Z pet owners gravitate towards organic/natural pet food and humanized lifestyles for their pets. As the purchasing power of Gen Z continues to increase, successful pet product brands and marketers are bound to leverage declarative market research data to understand and react to these consumer preferences.