Americans Spend $490 Million on Pet Costumes for Halloween

October 31, 2019

For this year’s Halloween festivities, Americans will spend an estimated $8.8 billion on items like candy, decorations, and costumes designed for all walks of life. Along with shelling out $3.2 billion on outfits meant for kids and adults, consumers will also spend $490 million on costumes for their pets. According to a recent survey, 51 percent of dog owners plan to dress up their pups for the holiday, spending an average of about $20. 

Retail experts say the popularity of pet costumes is part of a larger trend where consumers are spending more on their pets than ever before. In fact, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) claims that people spent $72.56 billion last year on pet products like food, supplies, and over-the-counter medication. “Today more than ever, pet owners view their pets as irreplaceable members of their families and lives,” said APPA president and CEO Bob Vetere. “It’s clear that giving pets the best lives possible is still a top priority for pet owners, and they’re willing to spend more on the quality products and services they consume if it means more quality time with their beloved companions.”

Of course, analysts also credit the power of social media with popularizing pet costumes. For example, last month an Instagrammer in Hong Kong posted a video of her French bulldog trotting about in a Chucky (the evil doll) costume. The clip went viral on Twitter as both celebrities and regular users shared it far and wide. Not only did the outfit become the most-searched pet costume on Google, it has also been sold out on Party City’s website since September. “Spending hasn’t changed much over the past few years, but we are seeing a noticeable increase in consumers whose Halloween purchases are inspired by their friends, neighbors and even celebrities on social media,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation.

Questions:

  1. Why are Americans spending more on their pets than ever before?
  2. How does social media affect consumers’ spending on Halloween items like pet costumes?

Source: Nicole Lyn Pesce, “Americans Are Spending Almost Half a Billion Dollars on Halloween Costumes for Their Pets,” MarketWatch, October 26, 2019.

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