WIESBADEN, GERMANY — The Central Association of Zoological Specialist Companies (ZZF), a German trade association, has released its latest report on the Deutsch pet market in tandem with Interzoo 2024, held May 7 to 10 in Nuremberg. According to the association, 45% of German households had at least one pet in 2023, fueling €7.1 billion (roughly $7.7 billion USD) in pet food and product sales throughout the year, up 9.5% from 2022.

Unlike in the United States, where dogs are “man’s best friend,” cat ownership is more popular in Germany. In 2023, ZZF recorded populations of 15.7 million cats and 10.5 million dogs throughout the country, representing 25% and 21% of total German pet ownership, respectively.

By generation, those over the age of 60 represent the largest cohort of German pet owners at 25%, followed by 22% who are between the ages of 50 to 59, 19% between the ages of 30 and 39, 18% between the ages of 40 and 49, and 16% ages 29 and younger.  

Source: The Central Association of Zoological Specialist Companies (ZZF). “The German pet market 2023.”

Pet food sales in-store amounted to nearly €4.5 billion ($4.8 billion USD) in 2023, up 11.4% year-over-year. This compares to pet supplies and accessory sales of €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion USD). Most pet food sales (63%) occurred in the food retail channel, while 27% occurred in the specialty retail channel, according to ZZF. For supplies and accessories, however, the tables were turned — 22% of sales for this category were in the food retail channel, while 78% were made at specialty retail.

Online pet product sales continued to gain speed in 2023 with an estimated sales volume of €1.3 billion ($1.4 billion USD), up 9.4% year-over-year.

Unsurprisingly, cat food represented the largest share of pet food sales in Germany in 2023, totaling €2.3 billion ($2.5 billion USD) and growing 14.4% over 2022. According to ZZF, wet cat food sales made up the lion’s share of total cat food revenue at €1.5 billion ($1.6 billion USD), up 15.3% year-over-year. Dry cat food accounted for €396 million ($426.7 million USD), up 11.3% year-over-year, and cat treat and snacks accounted for €372 million ($400.8 million USD), up 14% year-over-year.

Dog food sales were up 9.1% from 2022 to nearly €2 billion ($2.2 billion USD). Wet dog food drove the highest year-over-year growth rate with €677 million ($729.5 million USD) in sales for 2023, up 13.7% from 2022, followed by dog treats and snacks at €748 million ($806 million USD), up 7.4% year-over-year, and dry dog food at €547 million ($589.4 million USD), up 6.1% year-over-year.

Read more global pet food and treat news from outside North America.

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