Media Village: Mindshare's Culture Vulture Live: Pets Are the New Newborns

On this week’s Culture Vulture Live, Alexis Fragale explores a new trend among Millennials: pet ownership versus parenthood.

New research from Mintel suggests a growing number of Millennials are more likely to have pets versus kids. In their study, they found that three-fourths of Americans in their 30s have dogs and 51% own cats. Those are much higher numbers than the general population.

At the same time, while the U.S. population is growing, according to the CDC, the birth rate has dropped more than 10 percent since 2007. And, research from Pew shows that Millennials are half as likely to be married or living with a partner than they were 50 years ago.

Arguably, it’s just easier to buy a puppy than to give birth. But this age group is also shopping for their pets the way you would for a baby. Seventy-six percent said they’re more likely to splurge on their pets than for themselves. Millennials are also twice more likely than Baby Boomers to buy clothing for their pets.

What does this mean for marketers? For one, a lot of money spent on pet pampering. But also, as consumers prolong some of the traditional markers of adulthood, their behavior is changing the ways they interact with their homes and physical spaces. For example, ENORME Studio worked with Ikea on a project to adapt homes for Millennials moving back in with their parents. With some changes to format and functionality they’ve found ways to make it work, even if the returnee's old bedroom is no longer available.

For brands, it’s a good idea to rethink offerings for smaller households via packaging, content or opportunities for singles to meet. You can also focus more on comfort and utility instead of more showy items -- unless of course, it’s a Halloween costume for your puppy.

Originally posted on Media Village.