The Brits are known as animal-lovers, and new research indicates that pet-owners are ever more likely to pamper their pets.
Research company Mintel found that the pet food sector has grown by 15 per cent over the last five years, driven by pet-lovers' willingness to spend more on premium foods for their pooches and pusses.
According to Mintel's research, between 2000 and 2005, the market for pet food and pet care is expected to have increased by almost a quarter (24 per cent) to reach an estimated £3.6 billion.
Pet accessories are also in vogue. The pet accessories sector - another key area for indulgence - has grown by 16 per cent over this period to be worth almost a quarter of a billion pounds.
Perhaps pet-owners' increasing willingness to indulge their animals can be attributed to their growing scarcity: the research found that the percentage of British households with a pet has fallen by nine per cent to reach less than half - from 55 per cent in 1999 to 48 per cent today.
"Amongst the gloom of reduced pet ownership shines the very bright light that is the continued willingness of owners to indulge themselves and their pets," said Katy Child, senior retail analyst at Mintel.
She added: "Despite a decline in the popularity of some pets, the remaining pet owners have shown themselves willing to spend more than ever before."
Pampering pet-owners are also spending more on pet insurance than ever before. The pet insurance sector, worth a cool £314 million, has doubled in value since 2000, according to Mintel statistics. Click here to find out more about pet insurance.
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