Online pet care market booms despite COVID-19

With the COVID-19 outbreak, online shopping has become an irreversible trend. Amid this trend, products for companion animals are gaining popularity. As people are spending more time at home with their animal family members, the online pet product market is on a growth spurt.

Online Pet Market
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10 million companion animals drive the Petconomy

The number of companion animals in Korea reached 10 million in 2016. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), 5.91 million households, which account for 26.4% of the 22.38 million total households, live with their pets. This is up by 800,000 homes from 2018.

The change owes to the heightened cultural awareness of companion animals. In the past, they were considered secondary to humans, as they were played down as mere pets to be owned. Today, these animals are increasingly perceived as our equals. They are lifelong companions that are as dear as family and friends.

A surge in pet ownership is not the only change that took place. The rise of single or two-person households has led to the so-called “Pet Family” trend, where people fill the family void with their animal companions. Also, the “Pet Me” trend is led by those who cherish their pets more than themselves. Such families spare no money on their pets. All these trends are part of the “Petconomy,” a compound word of “pet” and “economy.”

According to the market research firm Global Market Insights, the global pet care market size was valued at 223 billion dollars last year and is expected to grow at an average rate of 5.9% per year from 2020 to reach 327.7 billion dollars in 2026. The Korean pet care market is also on a steep growth trajectory. MAFRA and Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade (KIET) projected Korea’s pet care market size this year to be worth more than 4.9 billion dollars.

Online pet care market burgeons since COVID-19

Online Pet Market02
Source: Gettyimagebank

Recent trends show that people are increasingly shopping for pet supplies online. Previously, consumers primarily visited brick-and-mortar stores to explore and purchase items in person. Now, those visits are being gradually replaced by online shopping.

The pandemic has altered the lifestyles of pet owners who are now refraining from going outside, spending more time at home, and thus are more interested in different products to care for their pets.

According to Statistics Korea’s online shopping trends report, the Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) of pet products in June recorded a year-over-year increase of over 9.9 million dollars or 15.2%. The GMV for the quarter ended in June also witnessed an 18.6% jump on-year. During the same period, mobile GMV climbed 27.1%. Cafe24’s research found that orders for pet supplies for the first half of this year went up by 46% from the same period last year.

There is a great variety of products sold online. More people are purchasing skincare products, toys, and other items they hadn’t thought to get before. Food and treats even exist in subcategories of organic and eco-friendly products. In 2018, Korea’s pet food market was valued at 858 million dollars, outstripping the baby formula market estimated at 344 million dollars.

A new opportunity for entrepreneurs

Increasing demand among consumers for novel pet supplies is a bonanza in its entirety for entrepreneurs seeking to make inroads into the online pet care market with innovative products. They can build online stores via Cafe24’s platform to appeal to consumers without going through traditional offline channels like pet supplies stores, department stores, or supermarkets.

A case in point is Dogshower, an online brand that makes skincare for pets. When people have skin problems, we try switching up our lotions before going to see a doctor. Likewise, good skincare can help prevent skin conditions for animals. Since animals have thinner skin than humans and tend to lick themselves, it is especially important that their skincare products are mild and harmless to eat.

Dogshower does more than sell products. The brand shares professional information on animal skincare while promoting its line of skincare, bath, and dental care items. It even provides courses on pet massages.

Jina Park, the CEO of Dog and Cat Life Design who runs Dogshower, said, “Since COVID-19, the lifestyles of pet owners have been changing.” She added, “As sales have been rising by more than 20% every month since February, the surge in online transactions after the outbreak is definitely affecting our sales.”

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