What will US pets find under the Christmas tree?
Updated: 2011-11-11 08:08
LOS ANGELES - Just over half of US pet owners will buy gifts for their pets this holiday season, and they'll spend an average of $46 on their animals, with toys and treats topping the list, according to a new AP-Petside.com poll.
Sixty-eight percent of pets getting gifts can look forward to a toy, 45 percent to food or another treat, 8 percent new bedding, 6 percent clothing, 3 percent a leash, collar or harness and 3 percent new grooming products, the poll showed. Some pets will get more than one gift.
"Christmas is about the pets," said Gayla McCarthy, 58, of Kekaha, Hawaii, whose Australian shepherd, Echo, will find a toy under the tree. McCarthy even got a shirt for her husband as a gift to him from the dog, and she'll be giving collapsible bowls that she ordered online to all their friends' dogs.
Although the average budget for pet gifts among those surveyed was $46, 72 percent of those polled said they'd spend $30 or less. Those who bought gifts for their pets last year said they spent $41 on average.
Overall, 51 percent of those polled this year said they would buy holiday gifts for their pets, a figure that's been relatively stable in the last few AP-Petside.com polls. It was 53 percent last year, 52 percent in 2009 and 43 percent in 2008.
Income does matter. Those making $50,000 or more say they plan to spend an average of $57 on their pets. Those making less than $50,000 say it will be $29.
Major pet retailers have been taking part in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday frenzy for a few years. Petco Animal Supplies Inc plans a 72-hour "Black Friday Weekend Blowout", said Greg Seremetis, vice-president of marketing.
Products for both pets and pet owners will be available, he said. "Including pets in holiday gift-giving has been a growing trend in the last few years. More and more pets are being treated as family members and being included in holiday traditions, including having a gift waiting for them under the tree," he said.
PetSmart Inc plans to open stores at 7 am on Black Friday, followed by a "Countdown to Christmas" sale beginning on Dec 16, said spokeswoman Stephanie Foster.
Online retailer Foster & Smith Inc plans a live, streaming, four-hour webcast full of sales and giveaways on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, spokesman Gordon Magee said.
Younger pet owners are more apt to say they'll buy their pet a holiday gift, including 56 percent of pet owners under age 50. Among those ages 50 to 64, it's 47 percent, and among seniors, 39 percent, the poll showed.
Lauren Beard, 22, of Felton, Pennsylvania, and her family lavished their dog Groovy with gifts last year because it was its first Christmas. "We still love her but it's a little less exciting this year," Beard said. So she reduced her budget of $70 last year to $50, and hopes to get some things on sale.