The number of pet dogs and cats in China is over 91 million, exceeding the entire population of Sichuan province.
Spending on pets grew 27 percent to 170.8 billion yuan (US$24.81 billion) in 2017 from the previous year, far exceeding the country’s consumption growth.
It’s estimated that China now has 73.55 million pet owners. Of this, 46.1 percent own dogs and 30.7 percent have cats.
Pet dogs outnumber their feline counterparts by about 10 million currently. But given the latter’s faster growth clip, pet cats are expected to have a bigger population than pet dogs in ten years’ time.
Chinese pet owners typically spend 5,016 yuan on their pets each year, an amount that is more than double the average monthly disposable income of Chinese, indicating that pet owners are relatively well off.
A study shows that over 70 percent of dog owners in the country were born after 1980, and 84.8 percent of them have had college education. Most of them are professionals or white-collar workers. Meanwhile, nearly 90 percent of the cat owners were born after 1980, and 88.8 percent of them finished college.
Most pet owners, 88 percent, are women.
Generally speaking, China’s pet market is still in the early stages of development. Its size is just a third of the US market, which is valued at US$69.5 billion.
The market’s growth potential is certainly huge, considering that the number of pets owned is only 0.065 per person, far below the 0.57 rate in the United States.
But the thriving industry is likely to make China the world’s largest pet market in five to 10 years, implying vast business opportunities.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept 28