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New pet owners to take China’s pet market to new heights

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Two recent white papers on China’s pet market have both painted a rosy outlook for the near future that hinged on the arrival of young, single, well-educated first time pet owners.

The newly minted pet owners who will fuel demand for pet products, particularly pet food, in the coming years represent almost 70% of pet owners in China today, with almost half of them born after 1990 (46.3%). They are also likely the occupants of the 125 million households in China just for singles. 

Based on the 2021 White Paper on China’s Pet Consumption Trends produced by consumer research firm iResearch, almost 90% of new pet owners are college graduates, who make up only 23.61% of the total population with university degrees. Figuratively speaking, they only became pet owners yesterday–-with 52% having kept a pet for less than three years, and 19% with one pet for less than one year. Still, this is the group expected to acquire more pets in the future, and not those who have been pet owners for sometime now, the white paper said.

As singles with careers and busy lifestyles, the new pet owners tend to gravitate towards cats and could be one of the reasons why pet cats last year, and for the first time, overtook pet dogs in numbers. The consumption trend report said there was a total of 58 million pet cats and 54 million pet dogs in China in 2021. 

Dogs were down but not out as the overall dog market was still worth more than the cat’s, albeit by just a small margin. Data from another study, the 2021 White Paper on China’s Pet Industry produced by Pethadoop with supervision from the pet industry branch of the China Animal Husbandry Association, has shown that the dog market was at $2.1 billion, up 21.2% from 2020, while the cat market was worth $1.5 billion for a 19.9% year-on-year increase. It also showed that in China, the annual average spend per dog was $390.62 versus $270.79 for cats. 

The pet consumption trend white paper forecasts the China pet industry to become a $66.1 billion market by 2023.

Alma Buelva is a journalist from the Philippines. When she’s not writing about business and technology, she devotes her time to taking care of animals and writing about them, too.

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