Shoppers still spending on pets

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American consumers still are spending on their pets. The American Pet Products Association estimated that consumers will spend nearly $53 billion on their pets this year, an increase of nearly 4% over 2011 spending.

A recent survey from found that 75% of pet owners said the state of the economy did not affect their spending on their pet. More than 20% of respondents said they spend $51 to $100 per month on their pets.

While pet owners are spending, they are looking for deals. In its March 2012 Pet Owner Survey, Packaged Facts reported that 73% of pet product buyers agreed they look for lower prices, special offers and sales on pet products, while only 11% said they do not.

Pet OTCs are a growing segment of the pet care category, and a recent study from Packaged Facts predicted that pet medication sales will have annual gains of 10% by 2015 — both driving consumers to the drug store.

Green and natural products also are a growing segment of the category, not only in food products but in grooming products and accessories. CVS, for example, carries a line of organic cotton dog collars from Ruffin’it.

Not content with just throw-and-fetch games anymore, consumers want more interactive, intelligent and treat-dispensing puzzle type toys for pets. Owners also are more particular about pet odors, and a flurry of new air freshening systems, sprays and deodorized bags continue to enter the market.

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