Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin pet food producers could gain a foothold by focusing on nutritious, natural pet food products.
Pet ownership continues to rise in China, and with it the demand for pet food—and particularly for high-quality, healthy products.
The latest government report estimates that nearly 69 million urban dwellers in China included pets as part of their households in 2021, up 8% over 2020.
Nearly half of the pet owners (46.3%) are relatively young, born in the 1990s or later, the 2021 White Paper on China’s Pet Industry says, and they are well educated. About 90% of pet owners have earned a university degree though only 24% of the overall Chinese population is college-educated.
Cats outnumbered dogs in 2021 for the first time, with 58 million cats and 54 million dogs in Chinese homes, according to market research firm Intelligence Research Group. The total, 112 million, is up 11% from 2020.
As China’s economy has grown and living standards have improved, pet owners are paying more attention to the health of their cats and dogs. Natural and organic pet foods are in high demand, and they are often the more expensive, foreign brands. Pet owners’ top priorities in choosing food for their furry companions are nutritional ratio, ingredients, and palatability.
A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cites figures from Euromonitor that show between 2010 and 2020, China’s pet food market grew from $719 million to $6.7 billion. Euromonitor predicts sales will jump to $16.8 billion by 2025.
Canada was the leading pet food supplier to China in 2021, according to the USDA, with 47% of the market, while the U.S. was the No. 2 supplier, with 20%. But the report says U.S. pet food makers are likely to see increased exports to China in the coming years as pet ownership continues to rise. Even with the recent growth that’s occurred, only 20% of Chinese households include a pet compared with 38% in Japan and 70% in the U.S.
About 70% of pet owners in China buy most or all of their pet food online.
For Wisconsin pet food exporters considering entering the Chinese market, Tmall and JD.com are the general e-commerce platforms in China with large online traffic volumes. Products with high nutritional value and interesting, high-quality packaging are most likely to draw attention from Chinese consumers.