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The Biggest Trends in Pet Food Consumption.

In 2018, the number of urban pet users in China had reached 73.55 million (including aquarium), including 56.48 million urban and town dog owners and cats. The majority are dog owners at 33.9 million and 22.58 million cat owners. The “pet economy” and “other economy” brought by PET consumption has become one of the characteristics of the new consumption era. At the same time, online pet food consumption is becoming more and more popular and the market scale has maintained a rapid growth trend in the last two years.

The consumption of domestic brand pet food continued to increase. In 2018, the domestic brand market accounted for more than half and maintained a high growth trend. The quality of domestic products has gradually been recognized by the officials.

Gluten-free formula has become a new trend of pet grain consumption, with the unit price per person per year exceeding the total by 2.2 times​

In order to avoid the allergy caused by the intolerance of “gluten” ingredients, pet consumers pay more and more attention to pet food ingredients. In the past three years, the high protein and low carbohydrate gluten free food has triggered an upsurge of online purchase by consumers. The per capita annual customer unit price exceeds the overall price of pet food by 220% and the sales amount continues to increase. In 2018, the sales amount of gluten free food has increased by 173% compared with that in 2016, with a good market potential.

Whole age wet food gradually becomes the new choice of main pet food

Consumers’ demand for wet food has been increasing year by year, and the sales scale of wet food has been gradually increased from 2016 to 2018. The sales volume of wet food in 2018 is 193% higher than that in 2016. At the same time, the full price food suitable for pet growth at all stages has an exponential growth in 2016-2017, and the sales volume in 2018 still shows a substantial and sustained growth trend.

Providing precise nutrition for pets, customized food is more and more popular with consumer

Consumers are more and more targeted to the choice of pet food. The nutritional elements needed in different body types, varieties and stages are different. Data shows that customized dog food for dog size is more popular than general dog food, and the sales growth rate is much higher than general dog food. The customized cat food for different growth stages of cats shows a relatively obvious sales growth trend, and the sales of kitten food for young cats in 2018 is more than 80% higher than that in 2016.

Take good care of the pet and the functional pet food gradually becomes the black horse

The function of pet food is continuously subdivided, such as the emergence of functional pet food for sterilization and special care needs during pregnancy, which is widely recognized by consumers. In 2018, the sales of sterilization and care functional food increased by 229% compared with 2016, and the sales of special functional food for pregnancy increased by 86% compared with 2016. Among them, Guanneng, the pet food brand represented by functional food, has been highly favored by consumers after entering Tmall platform, and the online sales scale has exploded.

Small cute pets are the most popular and consumption of pet food for small dogs is heating up

From the perspective of different types of dogs, the consumption of small dogs accounts for the highest proportion. It can be seen that pet lovers have a higher preference for small dogs. The year-on-year growth rate of small dog food sales is far ahead of that of other pet food. Pet food customized for small and medium-sized dogs came into being. For example, Pedigree brand of Mars group has a number of products specially designed for small and medium-sized dogs.

Insight into user characteristics, pet food × fashion generation of pet populations

The data shows that pet food consumers prefer to buy street / sports / retro and European / hip-hop styles and other fashion clothes, while the young pet owners have a high preference for fashion brand clothes. With the support of the industry, the high-end pet food brand of Nestle Purina, Supercoat, has tried cross-border cooperation for the first time. Based on the insights of generation Z consumers, it has built cross-border products with the national fashion brand INXX, and launched joint fashion and pet fashion.

Customized nutrition for pets in different life stages​

Different nutrition is needed at different stages of the pet’s life and cat food customized for sterilization, kittens, and pregnant cats is constantly emerging and has been recognized by more and more consumers. For example, the “prescription” food for sterilizing cats is higher in protein and lower in fat than the ordinary adult cat food which increases the amount of water they drink and urine production, with the market scale increasing by 258% in the past year.

The growth rate of online cat and dog nutrition products has exceeded 50% for two consecutive years and Nourse brand is the most popular

Vitamins, probiotics, calcium tablets – these nutrition products which are commonly used by people, are also emerging quietly in the pet market. In addition to the pet food, the proportion of pet nutrition consumption has increased steadily in the past three years. Nourse became the first best-selling brand of pet nutrition products in the past year, with RedDog and IN-PLUS brand completing the top 3 spots.

Cats need to excrete the fur they eat in, dogs need to repair calcium making immunological supplements best sellers

For dogs, basic immunity and calcium supplements such as basic nutrition ointment and calcium tablets have become the best-selling in dog nutrition in the past year. In addition, the demand for dog fur beauty is still strong. In the past year, the demand for deworming and eliminate tear stains nutrients has increased rapidly.

To meet the new consumer demand, brands launched small packaging to promote sales, new growth

In the past two years, the small packaging market has risen. Royal, Mars and other pet food brands have launched small packaging dog food and cat food in response to new consumer demand. At the end of May 2018, Xibao launched a single package of small packaged cat snacks with specifications of 16g and 48g. In view of the reasonable control of feeding consumption of kittens and adult cats, the online sales increased by more than 400% in three months, which can continuously drive the transformation of new customers, and the effect is very significant.

Alibaba’s marketing tools are used more frequently in the pet industry

Alibaba complies with the development trend of e-commerce, and constantly launches customized products for user insight and precise marketing to meet the personalized needs of various brands.

Through the strategy center, the high-end brand Xibao of Mars pet has insight into the consumption, accurately positioned the target group of the brand, and used effective and diverse methods to realize the transformation of the crowd’s preferences.

Pay attention to private traffic and you will notice Royal pet food is loyal to users through Weitaoquan.

Royal pet food regards weitaoquant as one of the important content marketing positions. According to the user’s interest and preference, it pushes high-quality graphics and short videos, and the number of fans has exceeded 1.1 million.

880,000 users participated in a Douyin interaction driving the daily sales of super categories of cat food

In 2018, cat food super category dates, Tmall from pet perspective, adapted popular tune and produced the theme MV, and produced the “meow meow swear dance” suitable for transmission. Through the challenge of the challenge, the oath of H5 and KOL to participate in the swearing testimony, the consumer interaction was initiated, and more and more owners were encouraged and appealed to pay attention to the diet nutrition and healthy growth of the cat.

#raiseyourpawstogether on Douyin has been online for four days, with more than 2.4 billion views and over 880,000 video submissions, attracting a large number of consumers to actively participate in the interaction.

Key Findings and Recommendations
  • 1. Cat food and dog food has mostly been occupied by big brands.
  • 2. Canned or wet pet food is still in the beginning stages of entry to China. If your brand is a cost-effective and nutritious canned or wet food brand, your products can be used for market entry and capture the attention of consumers. It will be make it easier to promote the brand to be the top in wet food.
  • 3. There is still a lack of functional pet food in the market, such as targeted nutritional ointment. Most of the popular nutritional ointment in the market is aimed at the supplement of vitamin, so as to enhance the immunity of pets. However, there are few targeted nutritional foods, such as increase calcium, increase fur etc. that are still lacking top brands.
  • 4. There are two possible ways to make the top list with PET food. First, It is much easier to use an imported pet food that already has a consumer following, but there is no general distributor in China. Second, you can start by marketing canned or wet food at the beginning stages and in turn gain exposure for the other pet food products from your brand.
  • 5. At the moment, most of the low-end wet food and cans are produced by Southeast Asian countries or domestic. Due to the high cost performance, there will be a certain sales volume of these cans. Even a new brand will produce a certain amount of sales. We can consider looking for related products from Southeast Asian countries.
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