India’s companion pet ecosystem is witnessing a very interesting phase. Pet adoption in India is witnessing an unprecedented growth, and this on the back of ever increasing urbanisation and nuclear households, rising disposable income and dropping average childbirth per family. Pandemic has further acted as a catalyst to the pet adoption trends in the country. Evolving urbanisation and modern family structures are big motivators for younger generations turning to pets.
In addition to this fast growing pet adoption trend, another important aspect is the changing relationship between pets and pet parents. We have come a long way from times where pets were considered as possessions and thus pet parents prefer calling themselves as ‘parents’ vs ‘pet owners’. Need for emotional support and companionship peaked during the pandemic and drove the pet adoption trends upwards, where pets are seen not as animals but as companions, family members and even in many cases as children.
These trends are visible in the growing number of pets in India. India has ~32 Million pets in 2022 up from ~22 Million in 2019, growing at >13% CAGR. Of the 32 Million pets, 28-29 Million are dogs and the remaining are Cats. Though at a smaller scale, cat adoption is growing at a faster rate vs Dogs. While NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore lead in terms of pet care spends, other markets like Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Kolkata are 50-60% of the size of top markets. Equally interesting are trends for emerging cities like Lucknow, Surat, Chandigarh, Kochi and others which are 20% of the size of top markets.
We witnessed similar growth trends in the pet ecosystem for China over last decade, where increasing disposable income, 1 child policy, and urbanisation saw sharp growth in number of pets jumping to ~200 Mn in 2022.
Pet care industry, majorly comprises 2 big categories: Pet food and Pet health care, contributing to more than 85% of the overall spends, and remaining 15% is contributed by niche categories like- Grooming, Accessories, Behavior training and others.
Modern pet parents want the best services and products for their pets, and hence are always on the lookout for trusted and branded offerings across food, health, nutrition and care. We have multiple global brands that contribute more than 80% of the packaged pet food consumption.
Pets in general require extensive care for their health; specifically in their initial 12-18 months [Multiple vaccination requirements/ potential to pick up infections] , and for senior pets beyond the age of 8 years. Healthcare concerns are known to bring maximum stress and worry for pet parents. Pet healthcare, though very important, has glaring gaps specifically when compared to the human healthcare side. Pet healthcare in India is completely unorganised comprising standalone vet clinics, which lacks modern clinical and medical infra.
With the demand for pet adoption rising more than ever, the pet healthcare industry has enormous growth potential in the years to come. Given that urban pet parents seek out standardised, trustworthy and convenient pet health care facilities and services at their disposal, multiutility set ups offering all of these under one roof will be the main elements boosting the market’s growth. The Indian Pet Care Market is therefore anticipated to experience strong growth in the next few years, owing to the organised sales channel and growing demand.
Finally, it’s evident that the pet ecosystem in India is at an inflection point. We will see unprecedented leaps in terms of availability of quality pet products, world class pet health care services and modern petcare technology. Pets and the pet care ecosystem will become an integral part of the lives of people, where having a furry buddy at home will be more common than ever!
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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