China’s Pet Economy Shows Great Potential with New Consumption Trends

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In recent years, China’s social demographic structure has changed significantly with increasing population aging. Many elders live alone without children by their sides. Meanwhile, the number of marriage registrations in China has declined year by year since 2013, and the single rate among young generations in China is rising accordingly.

These social changes have promoted the development of the pet economy in China, as pets provide companionship to single households. Pets not only relieve life stress and reduce loneliness for pet owners but also are regarded as family members and friends. More and more people are starting to raise pets. According to the data published by the Chinese Pet Industry, the number of urban dogs and cats in China topped 116 million in 2022, with a year-on-year growth of 3.7%.  

The pet food industry in China is rapidly growing

During COVID-19, pet owners spent more time at home with their pets, and the relationship between pet owners and pets has grown even closer since. Pet owners are increasingly willing to spend additional energy and money to feed their pets. Emotional consumption and compensatory consumption drive the growth of the pet food market. According to the iiMedica data, the scale of China’s pet food industry continues to grow and is expected to reach around USD 37 billion by 2025.

Scale and Forecast of Pet Food Industry in China from 2015 to 2025

Source: iiMedia

In China, around 42% of pet owners are between 26-30 years old, 66.9% of pet consumers are middle- and high-income groups of people, and 61.3% of pet owners are women, according to an investigation by iiMedia. The portrait of Chinese pet owners reflects that China’s pet owner groups have certain consumption trends in terms of quality requirements and purchasing habits of pet food. 

Younger pet owners favor healthy and natural ingredients

In the post-COVID-19 period, pet owners extend their dietary health consciousness to their pets’ food in terms of food safety and quality requirements. Female pet owners, which comprise the majority of pet owners in China, are more meticulous in feeding their pets, and more rational in their consumption choices. Nowadays, pet owners intend to take a careful look at the ingredient list of pet food products to understand whether the raw materials are healthy and natural and whether the origins are creditable.

Thanks to pet owners’ increased awareness regarding pet food properties, functional pet food has great growth potential in China. Most pet owners prefer natural pet food with different functions such as bone protection, gut health, and more. Pet food brands can improve the transparency marketing of their product ingredients and quality control processes to assure consumers of their commitment to pet health. It is important to build brand creditability and recognition in the increasingly competitive Chinese pet food market. 

In terms of purchasing channels, young people, the primary purchasers of pet food, are highly receptive to online channels. COVID-19 has further prompted consumers to shift to online channels for purchasing. Leading international pet food brands put importance on e-commerce promotion events to attract consumers. Pet food brands need to accurately understand the target consumers of pet food and combine their online and offline channels to cater to younger pet food consumers’ diversified needs.

Source: JD.com

What Tractus can do

Facing the dynamic Chinese pet food market, international pet food companies interested in entering the market need to first understand the changing consumption trends and the diversified market demand. Tractus has over 25 years of experience advising our public and private sector clients on their market expansion strategies and implementation plans, from developing tailored market research reports and identifying opportunities for growth to designing market entry strategies and supporting distributor identification and qualification, sales outsourcing, and entity establishment. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help your pet food business achieve success in China.


Authored by

Miranda Dai is a Senior Research Analyst based in China.


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