How India’s pet care industry is teeming with opportunities for rapid growth

Rapid urbanization, the formation of nuclear families and the humanization of pets in recent years have been driving factors in the rise of pet ownership across the world. India is globally known to be an active contributor to this league and has a promising pet population of 32 million, which is growing at a rate of over 12% per year. This growing pet ownership is providing the desired boost to the pet care ecosystem, which includes retail chains, pet nutrition and services, and pet care services. pets.

Even in the face of such promising numbers, the pet care industry in India is still in its infancy. But with Gen Z riding this new wave of pet parents, there is an increased and informed demand for pet products, ranging from packaged products to pet treats, branded toys and accessories, which is increasing consumer awareness. Additionally, urban and affluent millennials and the DINK population also make up a considerable portion of this consumer base. They show a strong tendency to stay aware and choose the best for their pets. As a result showing a remarkable increase in multi-brand outlets over the past few years.

Furthermore, the minimum basic expenditure for raising a pet is estimated to be Rs 1,000 per month, creating an opportunity of over $5 billion where the organized market is less than 20% of the total opportunity size. Measuring this large gap, investors are rushing to tap into this unrealized market, i.e. the scale of growth in the organized segment. The market promises opportunities that go beyond pet products. Whereas urban pet parents seek quality content, community, and education to improve the lives of their pets; there will be an increase in demand for expert services, consulting services, quality training, grooming, etc. forming an auxiliary market for the sector.

In this light, pet healthcare and nutrition will be the major factors that will augment the market growth. Out of the entire pet care industry, food products are estimated at around Rs 8,000 crore per year, which is half of India’s pet care industry. Although food accounts for a generous share of the market, it is paradoxical that the penetration of packaged food in India is less than 7% compared to the 70% increase in the United States and Europe. But trends of income growth, rapid urbanization, and increasing health awareness are cumulatively driving the promotion of good health in companion animals. As a result, a paradigm shift has been noticed among pet owners who are moving towards natural, premium foods free from any form of genetically modified organisms, artificial flavors and colors.

Pet food industry analysis estimated that about $300 (representing about Rs 23,000) is spent annually on pet food and treats by Indian pet owners. As a result, the Indian pet food market has been predicted to register a CAGR of 13.5% between 2021 and 2026. Based on these statistics, the gap in packaged food penetration can be closed in next 5 to 10 years when a large organized market is expected to emerge. Building on this, many companies are emerging as industry players offering high quality protein and vitamin enriched foods aimed at maintaining the overall health of pets, from their skin to digestive health, allergies and many more.

The huge gap between the Indian and Western pet care industries paves the way for intensive reforms that need to be designed and implemented to reduce the existing gap. For example, the average lifespan of a dog in Western countries is 25-30% longer than that of an Indian dog. Indeed, India has only 100 to 120 pet food brands compared to more than 700 Western brands accompanied by advanced markets. Similarly, health care is also lacking, with India having 6,000 pet households per vet compared to 1,500 pet households per vet in the United States. While countries like the United States and Singapore have specific dog training mandated by law and regularized registration of pets with legal authorities. India, on the other hand, does not allow pets in various public spaces like malls, parks and sometimes even areas inside a gated community. Another aspect to grapple with in the Indian pet care space is the lack of a separate regulation for pets, it is currently covered under the wider livestock regulations.

To bring about significant pet-friendly reforms in the industry, a strong framework will be needed to educate pet owners to improve the pet care environment in the country. As a result, more trade will occur in the space beyond the primary food market. Consequently, more brands will emerge in the Indian pet care market, leading to the regulation that will follow and contribute to the growth of this underserved category, helping India to become a much more pet-friendly country. company than the current state.

Also dwelling on the speed at which digitalization is happening and the birth of new pet parents on the technology front, there is a huge opportunity for the proliferation of e-commerce in the segment. Even online pet food sales statistics have indicated that around 73% of pet owners prefer to buy food online, while buying from specialty pet stores is on the rise. at 27%.

The landscape of the pet care industry looks impressive given the positive effects of the points discussed above and the rise of digital native pet parents. Being part of such a dynamic stage of a market, there is plenty of room for strong growth in an otherwise unrecognized pet care industry.