Legions of holiday shoppers won’t overlook their furry friends.

Jane Neal, Content Editor

December 18, 2023

3 Min Read
Sassy Woof “Elf” collection.
Sassy Woof “Elf” collection.Sassy Woof

The holidays are here again – and as License Global previously reported, most consumers have already begun, if not finished their gift shopping. According to the National Retail Federation, top gifting categories for family and friends include clothing (56%), followed by gift cards at 44% and food/candy at 29%. But many consumers will also be buying presents for their fur babies this year. More than 23 million American households – nearly one in five nationwide – adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Not surprising then that there’s been significant growth in pet products, which, according to Licensing International’s 2023 Global Licensing Industry Study, grew by a hefty 39.8%.  

According to SoFi, two out of three households have a pet, and as the holidays roll in, more and more pet owners are focused on their animal family members. And that focus (and let’s be honest, adoration) increasingly manifests itself through gifts. From 2010 to 2020, the amount of people who planned on buying items for their pet grew from 17% to 27%, according to the NRF. 

A 2022 poll by mail-order retailer, Chewy, found more than 90% of pet owners include their pets on their holiday shopping list. Perhaps it’s because Psychology Today reports that giving to pets makes people happy. Apparently, there will be plenty of happy people and pets this holiday season. Because, despite some continued reservations over inflation, consumers don’t seem to mind spending money on Fido and Mittens. According to The Harris Poll, 57% of Gen Z and millennials will buy holiday gifts for their pets – and over one in 10 plan to spend over $100 on pet gifts. 

So-Fi reports consumers spent almost $137 billion year-round on their animals last year, an increase of 11% year over year. And a whopping 70% of people typically buy gifts for their pets. Of those, more than a quarter (27%) spend more than $100 on gifts. Overall, 89% plan to dip into their wallet in some way to maximize their pets’ holiday joy. Often these gifts are licensed pet products.  

Pet Licenses 

BarkBox, the monthly subscription service that provides a customized box of doggie toys and treats each month frequently offers up licensed products, including “Star Wars,” “SpongeBob Squarepants” and Scooby- Doo. Chewy also sells a variety of licensed toys and treats, from Disney cat treats to a Squishmallows dog bed. The Paramount Shop offers pet accessories from “Yellowstone,” “Star Trek,” and even “Survivor.” 

We’ve already seen pet parents dressing their pets for Halloween. In October, the NRF predicted spending on pet costumes would reach $700 million. 

But it’s not just Halloween when people are dressing up pets. From St. Paddy’s Day to Easter and the 4th of July, you’re likely to see related pet apparel on shelves.  

ResearchAndMarkets.com predicts the global pet clothing market size is expected to reach $6.3 billion by 2028, rising at a market growth of 4.0% CAGR during the forecast period. Manufacturers have responded by introducing pet products with a variety of characters (licensed and not), colors and patterns. Some of the most well-known franchises and characters have made their way onto pet clothing, including Batman, Wonder Woman, Mickey Mouse, Jurassic World and Ghostbusters. 

As part of the 20th anniversary of “Elf,” Sassy Woof has an “Elf” collection for fur babies of all sizes that includes harnesses, collars, leashes and more in an original pattern showcasing Buddy the Elf’s favorite things. Meanwhile in the U.K., Primark is catering to pets with outfits, bandana sets and several toys inspired by the Grinch’s loyal companion, Max. 

Can’t wait to see those bright eyes and waggy tails on Christmas morning!  

About the Author(s)

Jane Neal

Content Editor, License Global

Jane Neal is a Content Editor for License Global. Working remotely in the great state of Wisconsin, Jane specializes in retail and pop-culture trends.

She has worked extensively in the communication field as a managing editor, advertising copywriter, technical writer and journalist. She detoured for several years into academia where she taught journalism, English and humanities at the college level.

A complete Marvel nerd, she enjoys food, films, fishing, friends and family … and alliteration.

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