Gen Z Prioritizes Pets Over Vacations, Survey Finds

A recent survey of 2,000 pet owners, evenly split across different generations, reveals that Generation Z is more likely than any other generation to invest their saved money in their pets rather than using it for vacations.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Synchrony, shows that only 15% of Gen Z respondents would prefer to spend their saved money on an expensive concert ticket or a vacation (30%), while 42% would choose to save the money for unexpected pet expenses.

Interestingly, Gen X shares a similar sentiment, with 30% of respondents preferring to save money for their pets rather than go on a trip (20%) or buy concert tickets (27%).

The survey also highlights that 41% of Gen Zers are more inclined to spend $100 on their pets rather than on their partners. Additionally, Gen Z respondents express greater joy in seeing their pets happy compared to their partners (36% vs. 21%), more so than any other generation.

In terms of pet expenses, half of baby boomers (54%) spend less than $150 per month on basic pet needs, resulting in an estimated annual spending of around $3,200.

While pet owners budget for routine monthly expenses like food, training, and vet visits, they also indulge in non-essential items such as clothing, toys, and even pet tech. In the past year, respondents have purchased unnecessary items like automated ball-throwing machines, luxurious pet pillows adorned with fake diamonds, and extravagant scratching post structures. One respondent even treated their dog to a week-long spa trip.

To prioritize their pets’ expenses, respondents would be willing to make sacrifices. They would give up eating out for a whole year (45%) if it meant having free pet expenses for the same period. They would also forgo social media (42%) and streaming services (36%).

When it comes to ensuring an extra year of their pet’s life, pet parents would take even more extreme measures. They would give up dating or romance for a year (48%), work for their worst boss again (38%), and even forfeit their paycheck (36%). Half of millennials (49%) would be willing to sleep outside in the snow during winter to grant their pet an additional year of life.

Jonathan Wainberg, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Pet at Synchrony, emphasizes the importance of financial planning for pet owners. He states that the total cost of care for a dog over a lifetime can range from $20,000 to $55,000, while for a cat, it falls between $15,000 and $46,000. Wainberg encourages pet parents to have a deeper understanding of the financial responsibilities associated with pet care and to explore flexible payment solutions available to manage these costs throughout their pets’ lifetimes.

Overall, 53% of respondents consider their pets to be more like family members than their childhood pets were, and 90% agree that their pets are akin to children.

Wainberg concludes, “Whether you choose to splurge on pet gifts or not, it’s important to plan ahead for unexpected costs so you can spoil your pet and cover the cost of their mental and physical well-being.”


  1. Eating out – 45%
  2. Social media – 42%
  3. Streaming services – 36%
  4. Bed – 26%
  5. Washer/dryer/dishwasher – 26%
  6. Indoor plumbing – 25%
  7. Phone – 23%

Survey Methodology:

This survey involved 2,000 American pet owners, with an equal split across four generations (Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers). The survey was commissioned by Synchrony and conducted by market research company OnePoll between February 17 and February 22, 2023. OnePoll’s team members are affiliated with the Market Research Society and hold corporate membership in the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *