Pet economy takes off in China

By Li Yang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 12, 2018
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Lingdang Pet, a pet service company, and Pet Fair Asia jointly published a white paper on China's pet industry late last month in Shanghai. 

A pet cat tastes cat snacks at the 21st Pet Fair Asia in Shanghai, east China, Aug. 25, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]
A pet cat tastes cat snacks at the 21st Pet Fair Asia in Shanghai, east China, Aug. 25, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

The report said total consumer spending in China (on pet dogs and cats) will hit 170.8 billion yuan ($24.9 billion) this year, up 27 percent year-on-year.

The number of people in Chinese cities who raise pets, including fish, reached 73.55 million this year. Of this total, 33.9 million are dog owners and 22.6 million keep cats, according to the report.

The study also found that the majority of cat and dog owners are in their 20s and 30s. About 87.5 percent of dog owners, it said, are women, half of whom are college educated, and white-collars and students constitute the majority of the cat owners. In addition, the report found that cat owners are, on average, younger than dog keepers. 

With rising standards of living, consumer spending in the pet industry has been steadily increasing. It is estimated that each dog or cat costs its owner 5,016 yuan on average in 2018, a 15 percent increase from 2017. The average spend per pet dog is 5,508 yuan, higher than cats, which stands at 4,311 yuan per pet. However, the "cat economy" is rising quickly and is now one of the main growth drivers of the pet industry. 

The white paper also found that dog and cat owners spend more money on goods rather than services for their pets. Dog owners spend 72 percent of their overall expenses on daily necessities, food and snacks, and the remaining 28 percent on medical services, grooming and hygiene. This same split stands at 82 percent and 18 percent for cat owners.

In terms of food, the report notes that the consumption patterns of dogs and cats are markedly different. Dogs mainly eat staple food and snacks, and cats consume dry and wet food and snacks. It also found that dog and cat owners in the first- and second-tier cities spend more generously on food and services for their pets. 

For daily necessities, dog owners tend to spend more on shampoo and hair conditioners, toys and dog leashes, while the top three items on cat owners' shopping lists are cat litter, toys and cat scratching boards. 

The report also found that pet owners in their 30s in the first- and second-tier cities are the main consumers of the pet industry. Their personal average expenditure averages 1,826 yuan a year, but dog owners are still spending the most – up to 2,004 yuan per person per year. 

An interesting point the white paper noted was that expenditure on medical services is increasingly becoming a larger part of owners' total spend on their pets. Dog and cat vaccinations are among the most expensive of these services followed by sterilization and eliminating parasites.  

Despite rising demand and consumer expenditure, pet owners are somewhat dissatisfied with the current standard of medical services. The report found that 47.1 percent of pet owners are not content with the current quality of pet medical services. The lack of regulation and supervision on the prices of these services and the shortage of veterinarians are the main reasons behind their dissatisfaction.

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