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“Country Sessions” at Interzoo.digital: Industry trends in Western Europe and China

The Country Sessions – initiated by Interzoo organizer WZF (Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft Zoologischer Fachbetriebe GmbH) for the first time at Interzoo 2018 – also afforded a closer look at the bigger picture during the digital version of Interzoo by providing interesting insights into the development of the pet supply industry in selected regions.

Country Session Western Europe

In the Country Session Western Europe, Raphael Moreau from market research institute Euromonitor International showed that the increase in domesticity caused by the pandemic has intensified interest in owning pets and relationships with pets – which helped absorb the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis in the sector. This is reflected, among other things, by the growing number of cats and dogs, the increase in sales of pet supplies, and the growing demand for healthy pet food products like treats and mixers.

According to Euromonitor International, last year Germany came in second to the UK for expenditures on pet supplies (EUR 5.6 and 5.5 billion respectively), followed by France at EUR 5 billion and Italy with EUR 3.4 billion. Despite the unusually high sales growth in the last year, the market research team also expects positive growth and an increase in expenditures in Western Europe from EUR 28.2 billion to EUR 29 billion between 2021 and 2025. Moreau says that one of the growth drivers will continue to be the increasing demand for premium products, which supported sales resiliency in the pet supply market amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The research revealed that proportionally, the largest beneficiary of the growth in sales is the e-commerce channel, whereas traditional sales channels in the retail sector lost market shares despite their best efforts. This means that in the future many companies will have to focus to a greater extent on multichannel and omnichannel strategies. In this context, customized products, subscriptions, membership-based customer loyalty campaigns, and disruptive online business models will play a fundamental role. According to Euromonitor, a key concern of consumers in the future will continue to be sustainability and the ethical credentials of pet supply companies, so that natural formulations and organic products will retain their importance.

Country Session China

1.4 billion people currently live in China, and many of them have a pet. Visitors to Interzoo.digital were able to learn about the performance of the pet supply industry in China at the Country Session China. Miranda Zhou from market research institute Euromonitor International gave her listeners an overview of the Chinese pet market. In 2020 it earned the equivalent of EUR 9 billion, about 60 percent of which went to dog and cat food. However, unlike the German pet market, the Chinese market did not enjoy strong growth during the pandemic. A general economic slump and concerns about their income meant that for many Chinese, pets became less of a priority. Whereas in 2019 the cat population grew by about nine percent, in 2020 the increase was only about three percent. The dog population actually shrunk last year. However, provided that the Chinese economy gradually recovers in 2022, Zhou predicts that the pet population will experience greater growth.

Whereas the general market for pet food and supplies in China suffered during the pandemic, the e-commerce sector benefitted. Even in 2019, most of the sales in the sector were made via online retail. During the COVID-19 crisis, its share grew again: From 2019 to 2021, the share of revenue of this sales channel increased by an impressive ten percent to 61 percent. In 2021, only one-quarter of the sales in China will happen in the brick-and-mortar pet supply retail segment.

More pet tech

Young Chinese people who live in cities are very tech-savvy. The pet supply industry is targeting this group and developing more and more pet tech for animals and people. These kinds of devices can often be controlled using smartphones, and therefore they fit perfectly into the lifestyle of young Chinese pet owners. Miranda Zhou assumes that there will be a lot of new products in this market segment in the future.

According to the industry expert, other trends in the pet supply sector include pet food with a high protein content, raw meat, and frozen and air-dried products. Domestic vendors are also gaining a market share. These Chinese companies offer similar products to those that are imported to China, but at a lower price.


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