62% of US households have one or more pets. 46 percent have one or more children.
$45.4 billion is the amount Americans will spend on their pets in 2009, according to the American Pet Products Association.
"The customers that come in here, for the most part, just really love their dogs and can afford to get the $100 collar and the $100 puffer coat. It’s cute." —Emilia Poochie manager Lisa Boegl
On a balmy October morning, business is brisk at Emilia Poochie, a high-end pet retail shop on Canyon Road. Customers browse racks of fur-lined, bichon-sized hooded vests (marked down from $150 to $90), doggie T-shirts and pink designer leashes ($80). Manager Lisa Boegl’s own furred companion, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Hannah, stays busily underfoot, eliciting adoring cries from the clientele. By every appearance, this oasis of canine luxury is wholly insulated from the rest of the country’s economic turmoil.
Indeed, Boegl’s sales haven’t dipped; the only difference she’s noticed is that people are buying fewer warm-weather dog “clothes”—“T-shirts, dresses, pajamas,” Boegl explains—and that the priciest items, while still selling, are selling a little slower.
“I have some beds that are $1,100,” Boegl says. “People kind of balk at that right now.” But the Juicy Couture collar charms ($35) are selling as fast as ever. (An Associated Press/petside.com poll earlier this year found that 43 percent of pet owners believe their pets have their “own sense of style,” and one in five dresses a pet as a fashion plate.)
In 1994, according to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent a total of $17 billion on their pets—a figure that includes food, medicine, veterinary care, services (grooming and boarding) and animal purchases. The number has been climbing steadily since then. And Santa Feans may be especially pet-indulgent.
“Santa Fe’s the kind of town that loves their animals no matter what the economy’s doing,” Hannah Padilla, co-owner of Santa Fe Tails says. Padilla and her husband moved to Santa Fe last year from Colorado, where they saw definite dips in pet care and retail sales. Padilla says they worried about opening Santa Fe Tails—but they’ve enjoyed nothing but success. “We haven’t seen a slump at all—not in toys, food, training [or] day care,” Padilla says.