Home Furnishings Industry Creates Comfy Digs for Man’s Best Friends
Millennials Expected to Lead the Pack in Style-Conscious Pet Décor Purchases in 2016
Consumer research conducted by the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council shows nearly 80 percent of millennial-age pet owners regard their pets as “family members.” Millennials have now surpassed baby boomers as the largest pet-owning generation, with 35 percent of all millennial households having four-legged occupants. Boomers are not far behind, with 33 percent of households owning pets, according to data released by the global research firm GfK at Global Pet Expo 2015.But millennials shop differently than other generations of pet owners, and that has captured the attention of today’s top home furnishings producers.
For example, 63 percent of millennial pet parents say pets should be pampered, according to the GfK research. And, according to a study titled, “The Millennial Pet Owner” by Wakefield Research, 76 percent of millennial pet owners say they would “splurge” on certain items for their pets before buying something for themselves.
A custom bed is one of the items millennials say they’d splurge on for their pets, and new designs in this category not only indulge pets but also complement top trends in millennial-focused furniture collections.
Recognizing this need for style-driven pet furniture, Ohio-based Sauder Woodworking created an entire line of fun, funky and functional pet-specific pieces. “Sauder Pet Home is reimagining products once considered eyesores by creating designs that integrate beautifully into home décor,” says Mark Strayer, principal designer at Sauder.
“You don’t have to hide these pieces,” he continues. “They have a style that fits in your home while standing out on their own.” Designed for feline and canine pets, there are nine pieces in the collection so far, ranging in price from $89 to $349. Mostly modern and smaller scale in design, these pieces would be at home in urban apartment settings as well as downsized boomer homes.“There is a very significant trend and demand for cool pet furnishings, and in some cases, cost is no object,” explains Mac Cooper, CEO of Uttermost, a family-owned furniture and home accents company based in Virginia that imports a vast array of products from around the globe. “Our Thea Pet Bed, fashioned after our canopy chair, is an example of how elaborate we go in our pet furnishings.”
Often pictured with his own pets in company advertisements, Cooper has a personal connection to the product line. “Our interest in cool pet furnishings stems from our love of our animals,” he explains. “On our farm we have horses, dogs, and cats—almost all are rescued animals.”For consumers tired of shooing their pets off the furniture, the Nelson’s Stretch-a-Lounger ottoman from French Heritage offers an irresistible hideaway for small dogs or cats. Boasting an on-trend burlap cover and nailhead trim, the 24-inch square ottoman is as fashionable as it is functional.
“As with so many other trends, baby boomers were the generation that launched the pet-pampering craze in America,” notes Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance. “But with millennials totally engaged in catering to their pets – favoring everything from pet-friendly workplaces to pet-friendly restaurants – it’s no surprise pet-friendly furnishings are now on the rise.”