RSA’s insight partner, Foresight Factory, shares their views on pet ownership and related trends.

Pet ownership and spending: On the Rise  

Britons’ love for pets are evident as many are pampered as if they were one’s children  –  more time, effort and money are spent on improving pets’ lifestyles, and increasingly millennial owners are looking to pets for companionship and even as replacement to having children.

Pet ownership has been increasing steadily in the UK. In 2010, 55.5% of consumers aged 35-44s had pets and it rose to 62.4% in 2016; the increase was more significant among young adults (aged 16-24) from 49% to 62% in the same period.

The growth in spending for pets is perhaps more telling of the rising status of pets. According to ONS, the total expenditure on pets and related products reached over £4.5billions in 2016, when it was only £3.1billions in 2010.

Why are pets so popular now?

Apart from companionship, the emotional association we have with pets could best explain their rising popularity. When analysing the social media posts (from platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) in early 2017, we gathered 130 million posts in total, the vast majority (75%) expressed the sentiment joy in these online updates – that is, in another word, 97.5 millions of online posts showing positive affirmation towards pets.