China Pet Statistics

The Nation of Record Pet Ownership Growth

In this Petfood Packaging issue, we cover Asia – and China in particular. Which leads us to some eye brow-raising figures! 

Unfortunately, all trade shows have been postponed or even cancelled, not only in Asia, but worldwide. We invite you to regularly check our exhibitions page at We will update the information about all relevant trade shows worldwide, and we let you know about the postponement rescheduled dates as soon as we  hear from the organizers. This year will certainly have a serious impact on the pet food market, but again, not only in Asia, but worldwide. We are very much looking forward to beeing able to meet our readers at the next possible occasion, probably in China or Thailand. 

But back to the markets. China is demonstrating incredible growth in the pet food-related market. Just from 2013 to 2017, the pet population grew by 7% annually – from 389 million to over 755 million. And we expect a lot more pets in the near future: according to Euromonitor International, these numbers will rise to 8.2% growth until 2022 – and that’s each year. Depending on whom you ask, there might even be 14.3% until by 2021 (Mordor Intelligence, Sept. 2017). Cats will, by the way, represent the biggest increase, with a compound annual growth rate of 18.5%, while reptiles hold the red lantern with a mere 0.3%.

Until 1980, pets were considered a bourgeois peculiarity and therefore forbidden, at least in Beijing. It was only afterwards that pets gained popularity. Due to low birthrates, pets became the beloved companions. Increasing wealth seems to be correspond to a rise in pet ownership.

According to the Chinese Pet Industry White Paper, Chinese owners consider their pets as children (55%), family members (28%), or friends (7.5%). Only 8.7% refer to them as "just pets". In contrast to the European market, the Chinese like dogs more than cats, by a ratio of 55 to 44 million. Humanization of pets is expected to reach around US$ 10.7 billion or CN¥ 75,5 billion this year.  

The largest group of Chinese pet owners are between 20 and 30 years old. Together with those between 30 and 40, they represent roughly more than 3/4 of the owners altogether. A very differentiated picture is provided by the target group by gender. Nearly 90% of the owners are female - at least among the cat owners. Many people in this group are, according to the White Paper, office employees, students, freelancers, housewives and professionals such as lawyers for instance. More than half of them have an educational degree of bachelor or above.

The highest expenditure on pets can be measured in large cities with high disposable incomes, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an and Chengdu.

From 2010 to 2019 alone, the Chinese pet market grew from roughly 20 billion to over 200 billion yuan ($28.3 billion US$). The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) cites 49.1% compound growth rate from 2010 to 2016, making it the fastest-growing sector among all industries. Many industry sectors benefit from this trend: pet food, supplies, medicines, pet cafes, medical care, beauty and care, fostering services and animal training are just larger services to be mentioned. Due to urbanization and national tourism within China, pet fostering services and pet-friendly accommodations such as hotels are seeing great business opportunities. Furthermore, pet food quality and diversity is becoming more important since pets are considered a family members. The health and well-being of their companions is as important to the owners as it is to themselves.

These figures promise the industry flourishing markets. However, it should be noted at this point that individual countries in the Asian market exhibit very different characteristics. In Japan, it is mainly older owners who see their pet as a loyal companion. In fast-growing markets such as China, India and Indonesia, the pet is also a status symbol, offering opportunities for accessories and services. In many Asian countries e-commerce is growing rapidly, faster than in Europe for example.

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The Petfood Packaging Magazine