Today we will take a look at pet market in China in 2021-2022. According to the 2021 ThePaper’s White Paper on China’s Pet Industry, the urban pet (dog and cat) consumption market reached RMB 249 billion in 2021, up 20.6% from 2020, almost equal to the growth rate during the same period in 2019. The same paper states that China’s urban pet market in 2020 was worth nearly RMB 300 billion, and the figure will reach RMB 445.6 billion by 2023. Pet products have become a real and fast-growing market.
According to the latest data, at present, the number of people who own cats and dogs in China still accounts for the largest proportion of pet owners, both exceeding 50%, and the number of cat owners has already exceeded that of dog owners.The development of population structure and urbanization and the rise of Internet and social platforms have accelerated the rapid development of the pet industry. At present, with an increasing number of people living alone in China, the role of pets as companions is becoming more and more important.
According to a report from CCTV-2 finance and economics channel, the number of one-person households now exceeds 125 million, and they are currently the biggest market for pets. High education, high income, low age and low pet age are the four characteristics of pet owners.Changes in population structure. At present, there are many empty nest families, DINK families, and one-person households who raise pets as their companion. Due to their fast-paced life, more and more young people also regard pets as their emotional sustenance. All this drives the rapid development of the pet economy.The rise of Internet and social platforms. “Pet” is a very important category on many platforms. In particular, at the stage of short video dividends, many pet owners have become online celebrities with millions of fans. Their sharing of the daily lives of their pets has also kindled the interest of many potential users, and the proportion of families keeping pets has gradually increased. For example, a phenomenal pet blogger “Chef Cat”, who enjoys a fan base of more than 10 million, captured the attention of millions of netizens thanks to extraordinary cooking skills and the cute cat image.
Rapid economic development. With the rapid growth of the Chinese economy, people’s living standards and quality have greatly improved. As income increases, people pay more attention to spiritual prosperity and fulfillment. This also contributes to the robust growth of the pet economy.According to statistics, the annual trading volume of pets and pet products in China has exceeded RMB 10 billion. Moreover, a complete industrial chain serving pets has gradually taken shape: pet farms, pet hospitals, pet beauty shops, pet food stores, pet foster care, etc. The number of people working in China’s pet industry has reached 1 million. The ever-increasing size of the “pet raising army” signals unprecedented profit and growth in the emerging pet economy.
The industrial chain of the pet economy has the following characteristics:
Upscale pet products
As the role of pets shifts from a companion to people’s closest partner and family member, an increasing number of pet owners are willing to spend a lot of money taking care of them. At present, pet products on the market are more sophisticated, diversified, and premium than in the past. Pet clothes and accessories are becoming more fashionable. Even luxury brands like Hermes, Gucci and Fendi have launched their branded pet products.
Trendy pet clothes
Whether it’s Mr Famous, the Yorkshire Terrier that fascinated Audrey Hepburn, the blue-eyed cat who was spoiled by Karl Lagerfeld, or other pets who usually appear on celebrities’ laps or in the finales of fashion shows, they have always been in the limelight in the fashion industry.
From a marketing point of view, the huge potential of the pet clothing market is the biggest driver. According to data from Euromonitor, the global pet product market excluding food is expected to grow by more than USD 10 billion to USD 36.89 billion between 2020 and 2025. In addition to the strong growth potential, consumers spent more time at home than before during the COVID-19 pandemic, which also prompted consumers to spend more money on their pets.
Star-rated pet foster care
Nowadays, the “pet economy” is growing fast, and pet foster care has become one of the most promising segments in the “pet economy”. During holidays, some pet owners are busy visiting relatives and friends, or traveling, and have no time to take care of their pets. With the arrival of peak travel periods, the pet foster care business is becoming highly sought-after. Although foster care costs a lot, pet owners who paid for the foster care service say that their pets were not properly cared for by the foster care service when they took holidays far away from home. With the foster care service, pets can have a temporary home and get professional medical and beauty care during the holidays.
Pet market in China: Emerging alternative pets
Alternative pets break the long-standing pattern of raising cats, dogs and other traditional pets and are becoming new options for some pet lovers. With people’s growing personalized requirements, enigmatic reptiles, baby pets and other offbeat pets are now in vogue.With the booming pet economy in China and much hype on social media, online popular pet bloggers, MCN and other institutions have mushroomed. In the following section, HI-COM will explain in detail the composition and commercial value of the pet content industry chain.The pet content industry chain is mainly composed of advertisers, pet celebrities, pet-centric MCN institutions, pet content publishing platforms and pet content users. Compared with MCNs in fields like humor, entertainment and beauty and other fields, pet-centric MCN institutions have the following prominent characteristics:More wide-ranging resource support is provided for celebrities and stronger control is exerted over them. Celebrities are provided with more pertinent growth plans, and member income is subject to unified control.Some pet-centric institutions operate in the cute pet industry with their own brands, pet services and industry resources. They are poised to provide advertiser resources for institutional talents, and expand the influence of their own brands and services, thus forming a closed loop of “pet MCs + PGC content + brand marketing“.
The content of pet celebrities under the same organization is recommended, and the interactive relationship between celebrities is closer than that in other fields.According to iResearch’s estimation, there are a total of more than 100,000 creators with pet-centric content and at least 10,000 followers on leading Internet platforms (including social media, video entertainment platforms and content communities) with concentrated pet content in China, and they are main contributors of quality online pet content. At the same time, without limiting the definition of creators to those producing exclusively pet-centric content, the number of creators of content which includes pets exceeds 1 million. This shows the high popularity of pet content among celebrities in different Internet circles.
Pet market in China: Commercial value of pet content
Social platforms continue to employ many ways to enable continual release of the commercialization potential of pet content. The commercial value of pet content has attracted increasing attention thanks to ever-increasing user interest, active participation of talent, aggressive deployment by the platforms and bold initiatives and exploration by brand owners. Social media platforms play a core role in tapping the commercial value of pet content by connecting pet celebrities, pet content users and brand owners releasing and marketing pet content, providing content and services to meet the needs of different sides.According to newrank.cn, the top 3 pet accounts of the Xiaohongshu platform in June 2022 were:Dr. Duo’s Pet-Keeping Experience Sharing, Witty Becky and Cute Pet Guide. The very popular pet blogger “Chef Cat” ranked 13th.
data source: newrank.cn
In March-June 2022, the “pet” search volume reached 208 million and the total number of interactions exceeded 30 million on xiaohongshu. This shows pets are a really hot topic.
data source: newrank.cnOn the whole, as pets gradually become part of the “family”, the consumption trends of pet goods have begun to move closer to people’s consumption habits. Strategies including channel king, beauty economy, online celebrity recommendation and cross-border linkage are also applicable to the pet industry. After all, most recipients are Generation-Z consumers.
However, from a micro perspective, some of the more unique features of the pet industry are also worth considering. For example, what concerns pet owners the most, what differentiated demands exist during purchase of pet products, and what kind of pets are shifting from niche status to the mainstream. You need to keep up with the development trends to find your niche market in this fast-growing industry.HI-COM is a digital marketing agency dedicated to providing China-specific strategy, social media communication and e-commerce marketing services to businesses around the world. Working with more than 100 brands, HI-COM is the go-to partner of companies that want to enter the China market! Contact us for your free consultation today!Scan QR code to follow Localization and The Chinese Market Entry News or Contact us on WeChat: