18- to 34-year-olds are big spenders when it comes to pets.

By Rieva Lesonsky

Americans love their pets. According to the APPA, 80 million American households have pets, and last year pet owners spent $61 billion on their pets (not counting vet bills).

But Millennials in particular seem to be embracing pet ownership. According to MediaPost’s Marketing Daily newsletter, “Millennial pet ownership grew 25 percent between 2007 and 2015,” while ownership among older pet owners (aged 35 and up) increased by 14 percent. Plus, the newsletter adds, market research firm Packaged Facts predicts in Millennials as Pet Market Consumers that another 2.6 million Millennials will become pet owners between 2015 and 2020.

According to the report, 43 million 18- to-34-year-olds already own pets, which is about one-third of all pet owners (not households). And Packaged Facts says Millennials will be responsible for an increasing share of sales of pet products and services, since many will soon be entering a life stage where that kind of spending becomes more predominant.

Marketing Daily says, “In 2014, households headed by Millennial consumers spent almost $11 billion on their pets.”

In other good news for small businesses in the pet industry, Packaged Facts says Millennials “are more likely than other pet owners to both expect to spend and to actually spend more on higher-priced pet products and pet care services.”