The boom of China’s pet market

The culture and market around pet ownership in China is changing, and it’s changing fast. Corgi with cool sweaters and groomed poodles are strolling down around big cities, while cats are comfortably napping in coffee shops. Focus on this booming market. 

Pets as life companions

While China hasn’t always been keen to domesticate pets as companions, the culture and way of caring for cats and dogs is now changing. The older generation (from the one-child policy) is aging and seeking animal companionship and the Millenials are marrying later and consider their pets as family members.   

Source : Internet

Pet ownership in China is still very low compared to other countries (only 20% of Chinese households currently own a pet in 2022. This compares with 38% in Japan, 62% in Australia and 70% in the US). But the rising popularity of owning pets makes room for growth. 

Spoiled pets, attitude shift

Pet ownership is growing and Chinese pet owners are spending more and more on their companions’ food and welfare and are looking for high-quality pet products and services. The annual average spending for pets in 2017 was RMB 4358 per person and reached RMB 5786 in 2019 and dog owners spend more than cat owners. China’s pet industry has already exceeded 200 billion yuan annually (about 31.5 billion US dollars). 

Source : Internet

Imported food and snacks brands have the preference of the Chinese young generation: Canada (47%), the United States (20%), and New Zealand (13%) accounted for 80% of China’s pet food imports in 2021. This is in part due to consumer trust in foreign food brands to deliver on safety and nutrition, a main concern as pet owners pay more attention to pet-raising knowledge and product recommendations.

They also prefer to buy on e-commerce platforms, by lack of time, but also considered more trustworthy. Anecdotally, on 2020 Single’s Day – China’s largest e-commerce event happening every year on November 11th – cat food was the top-selling category on Tmall Global, Alibaba’s online marketplace. 

Room for new actors

Pet food and snacks still make up for half of the spending in pet expenses. The humanisation trend in pet ownership indicates more sophisticated pet owners, while the new way of thinking about the care for pets offer a lot of opportunities to new actors. Consumption on health, entertainment, apparel or services are growing in addition to supplies. Chinese are becoming pet lovers and willing to invest in their furry companions.