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Australian Pet Industry Statistics & Trends

There are no official and comprehensive industry statistics in the Australian Pet Industry available in open source format. Some statistics on the overall size of the Australian Pet Industry are collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and data is also collected privately through data management firms and by industry groups.


In 2016: 

Note that the methodology of collecting Australian statistics for pet ownership changed. That means that it is not possible to extend the graphs below, and we do not have enough data collected using the new methods to make statements about continuation of trends.

What is clear is that dog supply is significantly reducing both in total and per capita.  Costs to purchase a dog are rapidly increasing, particularly for popular breeds, and the ongoing trend to rapidly reducing euthanasia continues.

In 2012:

Of all the pets in Australia, and around 8 million households owning a pet:

  • 4.2 Million were dogs
  • 3.3 Million were cats

The Pet Industry was estimated at around A$7 Billion

More information on trends in the pet industry over the last 20 years can be found below – members please login to see this data:

[Content protected for Pet Industry Business members only]

For more information on the Australian Pet Industry in 2012 and to buy the data, contact Animal Health Alliance Ltd.

In 2009:

Of all the around 33M pets in Australia and 8 million households owning a pet:

  • 3.41 Million were dogs
  • 2.35 Million were cats

The Pet Industry was estimated at between $6 and $7 BILLION dollars and employed more than 15,000 Australians.

in 2006….

63% of Australian households owned a pet

53% of Australian households owned a cat or a dog

There were about 38M pets in Australia, of which:

  • 2.43M were owned cats (trending stable after downward fall from 2003)
  • 3.75M were owned dogs (trending slightly downwards)
  • 20M were ornamental fish (trending upwards from 1995)
  • 9M were pet birds (trending upwards from 1995)
  • 3M were “other pets” – pleasure horses, rabbits, ferrets, reptiles, guinea pigs, rats, mice.

In 2005, Total Consumer expenditure on pets in 2005 was $4.62BN . States shares of this expenditure were roughly in line with population. Of this expenditure:

  • 59% of this expenditure was on dogs
  • 26% of this expenditure was on cats
  • 15% of this expenditure was on “other”

Pet Food represented more than $2BN of this total expenditure.

The Pet Industry employs more than 40,000 people!

What’s wrong with these statistics?

There is reasonable evidence that these statistics are an underestimate of the true state of affairs in the pet industry in Australia. For example:

  • dog statistics only measure registered dogs, and those without microchips and registration may not have been fully counted
  • cat statistics only measure OWNED cats, and there is a signfiicant number of cats (no accurate figures are available) that are “semi-owned”. These are cats who are fed and cared for by humans, but who don’t have a single “owner”. They may move between houses, or run wild for part of the time.
  • it is estimated that nearly 20M fish are imported or sold in Australia every year. On this basis fish ownership must be higher than that shown
  • reptile ownership is the fastest growing pet ownership category in the developed world and reptiles are not reflected in these figures (for example, one in 200 homes in the USA owns a turtle, lizard, snake or crocodile as a pet) .
  • it is really hard to accurately estimate the numbers of rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice and to a lesser extent, ferrets, because without any registration it is really difficult to poll owners!
  • these statistics do not include private company statistics

… and that’s before we count all those other wonderful “semi owned” pets – those wild pets on whom we spend money, love and time adn deliberately plant trees in our garden for! These are the magpies, lorikeets, possums, kookaburras, galahs, cockatoos, water dragons, blue-tongues lizards, rosellas, flying foxes and all those other Australian native animals that become “friendship pets” – creatures who choose to share their lives in our backyards in return for a friendly face and a little food now and again!

(Do you share you life with one of these “friendship pets” ? Send us a photo at petsaustralia@petsaustralia.org!)

So What Can We Say About The Australian Pet Industry then?

We can say that the pet industry is AT LEAST at large as the figures above. Getting this into perspective, the Australian pet industry

For example, IBISWORLD lists the “Household Pet Products and Services” sector for 2009 at a whopping $7.26BN – that’s bigger than Footwear(IBIS), bigger than the Motel Industry (IBIS), bigger than Beef (ABS Stats) and bigger than Hairdressing!

Now THAT’s a lot of love for pets!


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