Trone Research and Consulting
Category: Pet Retail

Maximize Your Millennial Marketing: Pet Edition

Here’s yet another article about marketing to Millennials.

You already know they use social media. An article from the Wall Street Journal shows that Millennials spend almost 8 hours a day using social media. What you may not know is that one of the biggest mistakes in marketing is lumping Millennials into one big category. According to research by Curalate, there are 14 distinct Millennial personas. There’s a Millennial called “The Boss Babe.” She probably has a dog. So does “the Quarter-Life Crisis,” because pets make everything better.

Millennials' Involvement in the Growing Pet Industry

Millennials are becoming the largest group of consumers, as Baby Boomers are passing the torch of spending power. It is estimated that in 2015, people spent $58 billion in the pet industry. Of that, $11 billion was spent by Millennials.

While veterinarians are concerned about a decline in pet ownership, data collected from the 2016 Changing Pet Ownership Study by Trone Research + Consulting and Brakke Consulting says otherwise. 77% of Millennials who are currently pet owners plan on remaining pet owners, and a little more than half (56%) of those who are not pet owners say they “will have a dog or cat in the future.” In other words, as a pet product brand, you better start marketing towards Millennials because they’re going to be your biggest consumers.

Millennial pet owners plan on remaining pet owners

Millennials' Spending and Splurging Habits

Millennials spend more on pet products and services than any other generation and 68% of Millennials indicated that they read the nutrition labels on pet treats and foods. Their category spending is more overall but also more diversified. This generation is spending on typical services, medications, food and treats, but are also attracted to natural and/or holistic options. According to research by Nielsen, 73% of Millennials are willing to splurge on a product if the company shows that they are doing more than just creating products by giving back to the community in some way.

The Search for Online Pet Healthcare Information

Pet owning Millennials don’t just use social networking platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for entertainment or to show off their furry friends, but also as resources for information on pet care. Our research indicates that more than half (55%) of Millennials use general web searches like Google, 26% use Facebook, and 19% use Twitter in order to find information on animal health. DVM360 shows that pet owners are using the internet to look up answers to their curiosities, like why their pets eat grass to more serious issues like possible signs of infection.

Maximize Your Presence on Social Media

So you know your business should be using Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest… the list goes on and on. Everyone’s doing it, but do you know how to do it effectively? Do you know what types of posts Millennials find funny or engaging, and what posts turn them away? We do. We know that the “Boss Babe” is attracted to companies promoting images of healthy lifestyles and relaxation, and is probably taking her pup on a run before work. We also know that the “Quarter-Life Crisis” values companies that understand we all have our guilty pleasures and is most certainly embracing the fact that his cat is his current best friend. Contact us to learn more about how these definitive differences can help you reach them whether you want their awareness, engagement, loyalty or immediate purchase.


Scott Layne

Scott Layne


Scott is a senior research practitioner with more than 25 years of experience with Top 50 market research firms such as Bellomy Research and M/A/R/C Research.

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He is a poised and respected industry leader with a proven track record of solving business problems for Fortune 500 companies. Scott’s extensive research experience spans consumer products and services in B2C and B2B industries, including telecom, utility, CPG, automotive, financial services, travel and leisure, retail, textile/apparel and pharmaceutical.

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Kimberly Ness

SVP, Insights & Marketing

With 25+ years of experience across research, branding and marketing, Kimberly has the unique ability to transform complicated data into a simple strategic plan that achieves results.

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She has led marketing efforts for global and national brands and has a specialty in animal health, working with brands like Zoetis, Boeringer Ingelheim and Mars Petcare. She is known as an industry thought leader and has been a featured speaker at Global Pet Expo, AAHA, CBI, Brakke Consulting and Fetch, a dvm360 conference.

Tom Minsel

Tom Minsel

PhD, Head of Research & Data Science

Tom is our PhD Statistician and master data miner with 25+ years in direct marketing, customer targeting, modeling and research design.

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His areas of expertise include statistics, applied and theoretical measurement, psychological research, survey research, summative and formative evaluation, SAS, sampling, trend analysis and generally all things analytics. Tom oversees more than 65 comprehensive studies each year to help clients better understand their customers.