The middle class consumers of US and G7 powers who dominated the market for the last 50 years, are expecting weak growth due to declining consumption patterns. This is driving marketers to target the middle class in emerging markets, especially in Asia. The size of the middle class is expected to expand from 28% of global share in 2009 to 54% and 66% by 2020 and 2030 respectively. With the burgeoning middle class and rising incomes comes the financial ability to own pets and increase their spending on pet foods.
Asia-pacific with its growing wealth and busy lifestyles is driving the trends towards rising single households, delayed marriage, and increase in divorce rates. The financially independent singles and the ageing population are looking for companionship in the form of pet adoption, and towards pet humanization. The south East nations of Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia are the 'go to' markets for pet food sellers; decline in the birthrates in these countries has resulted in the pet population outnumbering the humans populace. The spending power in these countries saw a drift from Pet owners using home foods to prepared foods and nutrition specific pet foods. As a result of these marked changes, the Southeast Asia pet food market is likely to see heavy investment in R&D for condition specific pet foods; joint health, oral care, weight management, digestive health etc.
Japan is the largest market for pet food followed by Australia, China, India, and Indonesia. In countries like Australia, the pet population dominates the human population, determining the huge market for pet food. Japan’s urban population majorly lives in apartments and face shortage of space .The high maintenance costs associated with pet adoption have resulted in adoption of smaller dogs and felines. With pet owners shelling a premium for their pet care, and increasing the veterinary spend the lifespan of pets has increased, thus declining the pet adoption rates in Japan.
In countries like Thailand, India, China, Indonesia, Taiwan and Philippines the pet adoption rates are increasing, and the status quotient associated with larger pets will expand the pet food value. The trend towards adopting smaller pets such as felines and smaller dogs, is expected to impact the pet food volumes, while expanding opportunities in the condition specific pet food product developments. The south East Asian markets are still marked by homemade foods, and this gap can be targeted by marketers to increase awareness on prepared foods among pet owners.
Dogs and Cats dominate the pet food market with rising adoption rates in the south East Asian nations. Pet adoption rates of other animals such as birds are on a decline, with pet owners concerns about avian flu. Dry pet food holds a major share in the market, while the canned food is the fastest growing segment. In both the segments grain free products hold a larger share. Dog and Cat foods containing animal origin ingredients other than milk, fish, gelatin, and collagen and dicalcium phosphate are restricted from entering the domestic markets.
The pet food is a regulated market with each South East Asian country monitoring foreign players to adhere to certain guidelines before being imported in to market. Factors such as product push coming from the veterinary community, certified USDA products, country of origin are highly influencing the consumer purchasing patterns in Taiwan. Pet food recalls on ingredients sourced from China, have pushed the market for branded products in these countries. This is a major push for pet food manufacturers to increasingly look at Asia pacific market as high priority expansion markets.
Mars and Nestle Purina pet care, the two largest pet food selling companies dominate the Asian pet food market. The industry is seeing major acquisitions happening; With Mars Inc and Spectrum brands acquiring a stake in P&G pet care, acquisition of Total Alimentos by InVivo pet nutrition. Pet food manufacturers are introducing new product lines in the economic and premium segment; in tandem with middle class and affluent pet owner preferences. The expanding pet specialty channel and online sales channel trends in the emerging Asian economies are some of the strategies companies need to explore, while entering Asia pacific markets.
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