An Incomplete Illustrated Guide to Contemporary Petkeepers

September 2, 2020
Industry Research

XNode Blog

An Incomplete Illustrated Guide to Contemporary Petkeepers

225,000 square meters mega exhibition center. 17 exhibition halls. 50,000 people in attendance on the first day.

The 23rd Asian Pet Expo 2020 just concluded at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

XNode’s catkeepers and dogkeepers could not resist the temptation of wandering around brand booths with their suitcases in tow, bagging all the perks for their pets.

J and L with their suitcases

Colleagues J and L said: "Some advice to all pet keepers: the budget list may as well be a piece of wastepaper.”

According to the 2019 China Pet Industry White Paper, the total number of pet dogs and cats increased by 8.4% in 2019, and the market size of China's urban pet consumption (dogs and cats) has reached 202.4 billion RMB, making the pet market a promising prospect.

The continued rapid expansion of the pet market goes hand in hand with the developing innovation seen in relevant industries and fields.

01 | Social: idols in the pet world

Similar to we have idols in the entertainment industry, there are also pet idols with particular "specializations". The first type is a “eating broadcast” or “Pet Mukbang”, where the owner prepares high-quality foods with exquisite plating for their pets.

In September 2018, YouTuber “Mayapolarbear” uploaded a video of a Samoyed called Maya eating a watermelon and received over one million views. Maya simply sits in front of a camera and a professional microphone captures the sounds it makes while eating.

Maya is considered as the originator of “Dog ASMR” on YouTube. Just type in “Dog ASMR” and Maya's channel is the first result that comes up.

*Pic Source:NetEase

In China, there are a lot of popular pet "vloggers" who are also eating broadcasters.

The positioning of social accounts such as "怀特喵先生" and "丁香色边牧格林" are mainly as entertainment content, as well as information on nutritious diets.

The second type of idols are about having pretty and cute appearances.

The third type are referred to as "gagman", who make their fans and followers laugh-out-loud with funny interactions between owners and their pets in daily life.

For example, one user on Douyin (TikTok) called Dragon Li (尿尿) has earned the adoration of many netizens through the cats charm and owner’s humorous narration, and currently have 11,359,000 fans on the popular video sharing platform.

Singer Ke Ming's four dogs are also "stars" under the same video category. Although they have different personalities, they are happy, lively and cute in the owner’s daily video updates. They have won the internet’s love and currently have the highest number of likes (3,387,000) on a single video on Douyin.

The popularity of pets reveals that there is a large pool of potential customers in China's pet market, and that pets are becoming indispensable companions for more and more people.

02 | Sales of pet supplies on delivery service platforms increased by 3.5 times

This year is the first time that Meituan attended the Asian Pet Expo. The popular delivery platform released a set of industry data on the consumer demand for pet supplies. Sales of pet supplies on delivery platforms is 2.5 times greater than the previous year, and cat food/snacks and litter were the top three of cat goods contract sales. also released the "2020 Pet Delivery Report" on August 19, which showed that its pet delivery orders have realized 135% growth, and that pet takeaway orders cost up to 125 RMB per customer.

*Pic source:PCPOP

Zeng Wei, the Platform Operations Head at Meituan says, "whether it is the sales and diversity of pet supplies, or the age distribution and order frequency of users, all the data points to the fact that the pet economy has ushered in great business opportunities." The penetration rate of pet care in the e-commerce market has been as high as 42.9%, with online purchases of pet supplies becoming one of the main consumption channels for pet keepers. In the future, Meituan is looking forward to working with more industry partners to accelerate the digitization of local pet raising.

03 | Internet of Things: can your "can" talk?

A report by the International Telecommunication Union in 2005 painted a picture of the "Internet of Things": cars that can automatically alert the driver when a mistake has been made; briefcases that can remind the owner what he or she has forgotten; clothes that can "tell" the washing machine what color and water temperature to expect… Now, one by one, these ideas, which seemed magical at the time, are coming to fruition.

“What would happen if we combined pet food and the Internet of Things?” some thought. And so, some did.

Now, owners can preset smart feeders in advance or control them remotely via a mobile app, ensuring that their pets are well taken care of even when they're home alone. The smart feeder can also work off different types of pet food and other data such as simple analysis of physical conditions. Such a feeder then no longer is just a machine, but a "talking pet can".

Xiaopei Pet, which grew up in Zhangjiang, is currently leading China's smart pet home appliance market and has launched a number of products, including smart antibacterial bowls, smart feeders, smart water dispensers, pet cups, and smart traction leashes. They currently have 116 offline stores in Shanghai.

In recent years, XNode has also cooperated with a number of companies related to the pet market.

In 2019, XNode ran a customized three-day innovation exploration tour of Shenzhen for Royal Canin (Mars, Incorporated), a global leader in pet science, health and nutrition.

We look forward to more cooperation and explore a better tomorrow for the pet market together with related companies.

XNode Insight

The popularity of the Asian Pet Expo alone shows that the development of China's pet industry is on a rapid upward trend, with market demand only growing. On the one hand, this trend is due to key factors of the new generation in urban populations, including pressures of work, the evolution of family relations from traditional groups to small and scattered groups, the increase in the level of education, etc., which all contribute to making the companionship of pets a new need for many. On the other hand, thanks to the efficiency of online communication, more people are exposed to pet culture and the process of newcomers entering the industry is accelerated.

However, for companies that have entered or are ready to enter the market, it is crucial to choose the right niche. The current market penetration rate of retailing daily pet care, insect repellent, toys & supplies, medical treatment, dry food, and grooming is close to saturation; and the competition among large enterprises has become fierce. Meanwhile, other value-added services such as parks, photography, insurance, training, and funerals are in the early stages of growth, so there are still huge opportunities for new players. As for new directions for the future such as cloning, these are still mostly in the process of exploration; even more mature pet industry markets such as Europe and the US have yet to realize commercial success.

Perhaps with the integration of emerging information technologies such as 5G, IoT, AI and big data, the pet industry can continue to bring something different and new to consumers. Perhaps we may be in for a pet expo featuring pet idols as special guests soon!

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