Guinea Pig Enthusiasts Increase Holiday Shopping

Pet SpendingCavy owners are going out of their way to spoil their guinea pigs this holiday season and pet stores across the country are catering to this growing trend.

A poll taken by reports 66 percent of animal enthusiasts will purchase gifts for their guinea pigs and other pets for the holidays this year. Their average spending is $46 which is $5 more than last year. During a time when many individuals are getting laid off or losing their jobs, it appears the pet industry is unaffected.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), our furry companions are more likely to receive a gift during the holidays than any other time of the year. Overall spending on pets jumped to a projected $50.84 billion in 2011. That’s an increase from both $48.4 billion in 2010 and $45.5 billion in 2009.

A recent survey of PetSmart pet owners showed 76 percent planned to purchase holiday gifts for their pets. PetSmart also had the holidays to thank for a higher portion of their net sales. Purchases peaked during the fourth quarter because of holiday shoppers.

Guinea Pig TreeImage courtesy of Becky Wilson

Becky Wilson has a special holiday tree for her guinea pig, Peanut, adorned with "hardwood cavy" ornaments purchased from CavyMadness.

The larger pet store chains aren’t the only ones noticing this increase of sales during times of otherwise financial instability. Justine Roig owner of Chi-wa-wa Ga-ga in New Orleans, Louisiana said, “We cater primarily to dogs but we tend to stray. Our clothes do fit cats, and we’ve dressed guinea pigs, bunnies, monkeys and ferrets.” Mardi Gras, Halloween and Christmas bring in the most sales to the pet boutique where the average customer spends $30 buying accessories and outfits. Some stores carry gifts for pets who celebrate Hanukkah as well. Prepackaged treats decorated like dreidels and plush dreidel toys that play “The Dreidel Song” are a few examples.

With holiday spending also comes the gift of donation. Purchases made online through portal sites like Adopt A Shelter gave donations to non-profits like Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue. Meanwhile, Hartz was donating $1 to shelters in need for each virtual sharing of one of their new Angry Bird toys via their Facebook application. $2,029 in products was raised to celebrate the New Year.

Another point to mention in all of this holiday spending are the actual purchases of animals given as gifts themselves. “The best gift you can give an animal is the comfort and security of a new home,” SPCA spokeswoman Katherine LeBlanc said.

If you have a great idea for an article about guinea pigs, please let us know. Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. View our submissions page for more information on how to submit your idea.

Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT

Angela founded Guinea Pig Today and guest writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue and supports the ROUS Foundation. Her guinea pig, Papua, is the star of WHEK-TV/DT.

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