Survey: Nearly 30% of owners make pet-specific purchases for social media posts

Pet influencers are nothing new. But sometimes the personality of the pet becomes so popular that it’s easy to forget that there’s a human behind the pet who’s posting—the owner who devotes hours to taking the photos and writing those funny blog posts from the pet’s point of view.

But you don’t have to be a professional “petfluencer” to spend money on social media posts. Many regular pet owners go out of their way to make their pets look their best online—according to a new survey* by LendingTree, 28% of pet owners make special purchases (like leprechaun hats and green bow ties) to post about their pets on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Perhaps predictably, the results break along generational divides—the younger the pet owner, the more likely they are to spend money on social media. The survey defined generations as the following:

  • Generation Z: 18 to 24
  • Millennial: 25 to 40
  • Generation X: 41 to 55
  • Baby boomer: 56 to 75

While the survey also included consumers from the silent generation (defined as those 76 and older), the sample size was too small to include findings related to that group in the generational breakdowns.

The number of pet owners who’ve spent money on their pets for social media posts at least once, by age:

  • Generation Z – 47%
  • Millennials – 40%
  • Generation X – 21%
  • Baby Boomers – 8%

Other pet-spending habits

The survey asked other questions about pet owners’ pet-related spending habits, also broken down by age: Pet owners are spending an average of $1,163 per year on food, treats, props for social media content, and other expenses.

Among other findings, Generation Z pet owns spend more on their pet than any other generation: $1,885 annually, on average. Millennials are a close second at $1,195, followed by Gen Xers at $1,100, with baby boomers bringing up the rear at $926.

Pet emergencies

Nearly half (45%) of the pet owners surveyed said they don’t have enough cash on hand to cover a $1000 emergency expense, and many said they’d have to take on debt to do it. Of those, preferred payment methods include:

  • Credit card – 36%
  • Cash – 26%
  • Savings – 23%
  • Personal loan – 9%

Pet debt

Close to 1 in 10 pet owners (8%) surveyed are currently in debt for their pet and 27% have taken on debt for their pet in the past. Among those currently in debt:

  • 25% owe between $300 and $499
  • 8% owe between $500 and $749
  • 11% owe $2,000 or more

58% report that they’ve had an unexpected medical expense for their pet, and close to a third said they regretted not having pet insurance.

*Based on a survey of 1,425 pet owners from August 9-23, 2021.

Photo credit: © Liudmila Chernetska/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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