Far East Offers Vast Potential

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Far East offers ‘vast potential’
15th July 2016

By Karen Pickwick

The Asia Pacific region offers ‘vast potential’ for the pet trade – driven by a shift in attitudes towards pet ownership, according to latest research.
 
Euromonitor reports that pet populations are vastly different across the region, with North Asia preferring dogs due to security and companionship, while South East Asia typically prefers cats, driven by Muslim-dominant Malaysia and Indonesia.

The trend across most Asian markets shows a similar story – increasing percentage of cats as pets. Exceptions are Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, where pet adoption as a whole is increasing faster than the rising pet cat population.
 
In 2015, Japan’s cat population finally caught up with that of dogs, the first country to reflect the region’s burgeoning cat-loving trend. With faster-paced lifestyles, interactions with pets are also changing. For example, by 2021, Hong Kong and Singapore are expected to edge closer to Japan, with cats making up 43% of the total pet population.
 
Paula Flores, head of pet care at Euromonitor, said: “The idea that cats are easier to maintain drives their popularity in North Asia. They are perceived to be suitable for smaller apartments as they are thought to be more independent and can be left alone for a longer time.

“For owners who are generally neutral towards dogs or cats as pets, their increasingly busy lifestyles tip their preference towards cats as pets and social media also plays a strong role in encouraging cat ownership. Garnering millions of likes and followers, popular pages by cat owners on Facebook, Line and Instagram draw fellow cat empathisers.”

With a burgeoning middle class, smaller and less developed pet markets are taking to pet ownership, with changing and shifting attitudes towards pets. In Vietnam, the growing preference for expensive dog breeds continued to be seen last year in major cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Purebred dogs that reflect their owners’ social status were a key factor fostering this trend. This is also reflected in social media and the way new generation consumers interact with their pets, sharing posts of themselves and their pets.