There’s a new, overwhelming global trend that is worthy of global mobility experts’ collective attention: the number of millennials with beloved pets that they say they couldn’t possibly live without.
You don’t have to be on Instagram to know that many pet-owning millennials are head over heels in love with their furry friends. Many even experience separation anxiety when leaving their pets at home. In the US, one survey revealed 71% of millennial pet owners would take a pay cut if it meant they could bring their pet (or pets!) to work every day. The vast majority (84%) said they frequently worried about their pets when they are apart even for short stints.
Booming pet industry
Psychologists believe that for many pet-owning millennials, a dog or cat isn’t just a dearly loved pet. For some couples, it’s a starter child. For others it might even be a substitute for children, i.e. they don’t want to have kids at all. According to one professor of organisational psychology and health, for young people who struggle to find time for human relationships, a pet is someone to come home to, cuddle up with and love (and obsess over).
Pampered in pyjamas
Whatever is behind this phenomenon, millennials certainly aren’t afraid to splash out on their beloved critters. In 2018, British people spent around £1.7 billion on pets and they’re not just buying collars and fancy leads. They’re buying foam-memory mattresses, matching pyjamas and bottles of Pawsecco – a non-alcoholic ‘wine’ to be paired with gourmet pet food. Mental health of pets is also an issue judging by the hi-tech gadgets that allow lonely pets to press a button to call their owners on a videophone.
Pets are also travelling with greater frequency with travel companies, airlines, airports and hotels all catering for this burgeoning segment more than ever before. Travelling with animals is expensive but for many child-free, cash-rich millennials the costs are clearly outweighed by the benefits. So what about pet-owning millennials when expatriating? Parents debating whether or not to go on an assignment would always consider the health, happiness and education of their children. From the sounds of it, nowadays we may need to be reassuring some millennials that it’s a dog’s life overseas, too.