Pet care sector could grow to $2.6 billion by 2019.
The pet industry has become big business in China with forecasters predicting the pet care sector could grow to $2.6 billion by 2019. A recent report by Reuters explains that pet ownership was once banned by Communist leader Mao Zedong as a "bourgeois pastime." Nowadays, pets have become a symbol of financial success and status. Dogs are the most popular pet, according to a report by Euromonitor, with some 30 million households owning a dog last year. Loneliness and stressful city living seem to be driving the pet ownership boom.
"In big cities like Shanghai, many people feel lonely and treat pets like family," said pet groomer Zhao Huanhuan. "People are now willing to spend on their pets as much as they are willing to spend on their parents."
Multinational companies such as Mars Inc, Nestle S.A., Procter & Gamble Co and Colgate-Palmolive Co are all setting their sights on China in the coming months and years. Matthias Berninger, Mars global head of public affairs, was excited by the prospect of growth in China's pet food market.
"Pet food penetration in China is very, very low," said Berninger. "People didn't believe chocolate would ever be something Chinese consumers would like, let alone that Chinese consumers would become passionate pet owners."
Other pet care industries on the rise in China including luxury pet product companies like Chrome Bones, a company that produces pet collars with Swarovski crystals. Pet pampering services are huge business, so are veterinarians, groomers, and high-tech animal hospitals.