Elevating Pet Care: Navigating Multicultural Pet Ownership Dynamics & Spending

February 06, 2024
by Santiago Solutions Group

In the US pet industry, Multicultural pet owners continue to play an increasingly pivotal role in the category of overall pet ownership and spending. Last year, our experts at SSG discussed ‘The Rise of Black & Hispanic Pet Ownership in the US’ – pointing out how pet ownership among Multicultural communities continues to rise. Out of Multicultural households with pets, 78% own dogs. Since 2021, cat ownership among Multicultural households has increased by nearly 20% from 31% to 37% in 2023. They are also 1.4x more likely to own other pets, like birds, when compared to White Non-Hispanics. Multicultural households, particularly those with children, contribute significantly to this trend, viewing pets as a means to teach responsibility and provide companionship in multi-generational settings. Pet spending in the US reached $136.8 billion in 2022[i], and as the category expands, we’re delving into Multicultural Pet Owners’ characteristics, spending habits, brand preferences, attitudes, and behaviors.

Pet Food & Health Spending

It’s important to remember that wet/canned dog food can cost up to 5x more than dry dog food. This could be a strong indicator that MC pet owners are more willing to spend more on their pets. However, even though Multicultural consumers value premium products, they’re still looking to save money. With the potential of saving through subscription services, buying in bulk, and keeping track of local deals – roughly half of the Multicultural pet owners claim to have spent $400 or less in the last year on pet food. Moreover, in the last year, Hispanics over-indexed in spending less than $100 and Asians spent over $300.

In terms of healthcare spending, Multicultural pet owners tend to spend slightly less in vet visits throughout the year when compared to their White Non-Hispanic counterparts. one-third of all pet owners spend up to $500 on vet care annually, White Non-Hispanic pet owners significantly outspend when it comes to higher ranges, particularly between $1,000 and $2,000. This spending gap may be attributed to the varying adoption rates of pet insurance. Multicultural pet owners are also more prepared for unforeseen circumstances and spending. Compared to White Non-Hispanics, they are 1.5x more likely to have pet insurance.

Name Brands Climbing to the Top of Sales and Popularity

When making purchase decisions, every consumer finds a unique and delicate balance between brand, quality, and price. While Multicultural consumers tend to be more price-sensitive, they also want quality they can trust. 1 in 3 Multicultural pet owners consider the brand name the foremost indicator of product quality. They’re also 1.4x more likely to share this belief than White Non-Hispanic pet owners. This is a strong sign that Multicultural consumers associate brand and price with the level of quality they will get from a product. Let’s look at what pet food brands rise to the top for Multicultural consumers.

*Green text indicates if Multicultural Pet Owners over-index in using this brand in the last 6 months when compared to White Non-Hispanic Pet Owners. Source: MRI-Simmons Summer 2023 Doublebase

Regarding shopping habits, Multicultural pet owners are discerning and loyal. Nearly 3 in 4 exclusively shop at their favorite stores, driven by confidence in finding the brands they prefer. It comes as no surprise that Purina’s many brands (Purina One™, Purina Pro Plan™, Beneful™, Friskies™, Cat Chow™, and Fancy Feast™) appear on this list, with Purina Petcare™ holding 29% of the total marketing share as of 2022[ii]. For dog food specifically, the Multicultural market heavily over-indexes in choosing Pedigree™. These are two brands that show they’ve captured the trust of Multicultural pet owners.

Influence of Media & Family

However, like many Multicultural consumers, there is still the opportunity to persuade them to try a new brand for their pet. Besides promotional deals, they are twice as likely to consider trying a new product that they see endorsed by celebrities and social media influencers. They tend to have a holistic approach and are more likely to consider other factors like the environment, health, and social causes. Nearly 6 in 10 say they buy natural products because they are concerned about their family’s health as well as their own, and over half say they’re willing to pay a premium price for a brand that treats animals ethically and humanely.

Pets are an integral part of family dynamics, often regardless of cultural background. In a recent Pew Research Article, 97% of pet owners across the US consider their pets part of their family – with over half claiming to consider them ‘as much a part of their family as a human member’ (especially among those surveyed who were women and part of lower-income families). Due to this familial bond, it makes sense that 3 in 4 Multicultural pet owners feel their pets should be pampered. In a 2020 study from Joybird, it’s revealed that across the US pet owners spoil and prioritize their furry companions in many different ways, such as:

  • 80% of owners share food with their pets
  • 80% of pet owners have thrown at least one birthday party for their pet
  • 73% of owners let their pets into bed with them
  • 62% of pet owners devote time to maintaining a social media account for their pet
  • 60% of respondents said that they would break up with their significant other if that person was not well-liked by their pet.

Overall, pets of all types and sizes have taken their place in many multicultural families. As seen through this data, the spending opportunity for pet owners goes far beyond just the essentials of food and pet care. While certain brands rise to the top by creating consumer trust and loyalty, there is always room for innovation as consumer needs shift. Multicultural pet owners are committed to giving their pets the best life possible. This dedicated mindset will influence the day-to-day products they buy as well as other big decisions like where they live, the cleaning products they use, the quality and durability of furniture, clothing, and more. With the amount of time and money that a family spends overtime due to having a pet, it is crucial that marketers take this into consideration when looking at how products and services can benefit their target market. Doing quantitative and qualitative research, like building persona profiles and conducting focus groups, is a tried-and-true method for gaining insight into the needs and desires of consumers.

Additional Sources:
[i] https://finmasters.com/pet-spending-statistics/
[ii] https://www.petfoodindustry.com/pet-food-market/article/15469584/5-pet-foods-brands-lead-us-market-share-purina-tops#:~:text=In%202022%2C%20Purina%20PetCare%20products%20held%20the%20largest,6%25%20Private%20label%20%E2%80%93%208%25%20Others%20%E2%80%93%2025%25

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For 20 years, Santiago Solutions Group (SSG) has guided growth pathways for scalable returns by uncovering cultural and marketplace insights.
These insights forge the fact-based foundation for effective business and brand growth strategies aligned with cultural insights across Hispanic & Asian acculturation levels, Black, LGBTQ, Non-Hispanic White, Gen Z, Millennials, and other segments.

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