Booming Petconomy, Market of Companion Animals

Reporters/HSUAN-HUA Chen,CHIA-YUN Hsieh

The rapid dissemination of information today is due to the advancements in science and technology. However, people have long been under pressure in terms of both mental and material aspects. As society progresses, people compete and compare themselves with others within the social structure, be it in terms of  job position, social status or family dynamics. These factors may subject individuals to judgment by others.  In terms of physical and mental exhaustion, the companionship of pets can indeed add variety to their busy lives.

Pets Change Men’s Lifestyle

Raising pets can lead to changes in lifestyle. Chen Zhao-rong, a pet photographer, who also owns pets, shared that after starting to raise pets, her social circle has transformed, as she shares information about pets with other pet owners. She meets and goes out with people who have pets, and they discuss topics related to pets. Their shared interests gradually turn strangers into close friends.

Pets sitting in baby stroller.Photo/ Hsuan-hua Chen

Chen admits that her social circle has dramatically changed because people without pets may not understand the need to find pet-friendly places to eat and stay. Therefore, when she wants to bring her pets along, she seeks out friends who also have pets and  occasionally meets with other friends to strike a balance.

Chen, Yi-ling, involved in pet tourism, mentioned that “very few people want to take their pets out for leisure activities together” because traveling with pets can be challenging. Nevertheless, those who choose pet travel prioritize their pets’ needs, and the specific destination is not as important. They simply hope that the trip with their pets will bring happiness and create lasting memories while relieving the stress of a busy life.

Baby Strollers for Fur Babies? Huge Pet Business Opportunities 

Pets are no longer confined to being mere companions at home, as owners now take them out to eat and play together. Many people even use baby strollers as pet strollers. Professor Wang, You-ting from the Department of Pet Industry Management at Taipei University of Ocean Science and Technology, said that this trend is not limited to Taiwan but can also be observed in Japan and South Korea. Most public places do not allow pets to enter, and using traditional cages can make it inconvenient for owners to go out. Pet strollers alleviate their burden, allowing owners to transport their pest conveniently.

Pets taking part in different kinds of activities.Photo/You-ting Wang

Consequently, many owners take it a step further and include their furry children in their travel plans. Chen, Yi-ling said that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has had more time to spend with her pets and has taken them on trips around Taiwan. However, she found that there are still many places in Taiwan that are not pet-friendly. She hopes that travel agencies will offer services that address transportation, meals, and accommodation for pets, enabling parents to travel with ease. Chen also said that the fellow pet owners she traveled with were kind and empathetic, and they supported one another during the trip.

The pet industry, also known as petconomy, extends beyond selling pets’ daily necessities. Pet communication involves transmitting animals’ sensory perception to humans. Pet communicator Kate said that pet communication is the translation of their information into human language and conveying it to pet owners. Kate suggested that with the increasing empathy in modern society, people are no longer solely focused on humans but are shifting their attention to animals, demonstrating greater empathy and care for animals.

Pets Become Family Members

With the change in social atmosphere, people’s ideas are also advancing with times. In the past, pets were considered mere items to be bought, but now many people regard pets as their family members, and they can empathize with the idea of pets. The relationship between pets and humans is very close, even inseparable. 

Pets’ owners go swimming with their dogs.Photo/You-ting Wang

Taiwan government even promotes legislation to protect the rights of pets and passed the revised “Animal Protection Law ” in 2021. It emphasizes the owner’s responsibility for raising animals, the prohibition of cruelty to animals, the use of pets for entertainment purposes, and the source management of pets. Moreover, it aims to protect more animals so that pets will be treated kindly.

To meet people’s demands, there are a series of pet-related products for owners to choose from. This  gradual “anthropomorphization” of pets allows people to empathize with living beings outside the human realm. Zhang, Wei-zhi, a lecturer in the Pet Industry Management Department of Taipei University of Ocean Science and Technology, also highlighted, “Pets provide healing effects. We give dogs love, and they also share joy with us and help us to achieve balance.” In a high-pressure social environment, pets have served as companions for people to rely on.

Raising Pets has Become a Popular Choice

In recent years, pet ownership has been increasing. According to statistics from the Agricultural Commission of the Executive Yuan in 2022, the number of registered cats and dogs reached as high as 241,000, exceeding the number of newborns by less than 140,000 in the same year.

Zhang, Wei-zhi pointed out that economic status is a significant  consideration for many individuals when choosing to have children or pets. As prices rise but wages do not keep up with inflation, people start to question whether raising children will affect their job status, family dynamics, and overall quality of life.

Chen, Zhao-rong also stated that after considering the environment and abilities, she found it more manageable to take responsibilities for and bear the expenses associated with raising a furry child compared to raising a human child. Raising a child  would entail concerns ranging from physical health to education and interpersonal relationship as they grow up. 

Pet owners take their pets to board a boat.Photo/You-ting Wang

Wang, You-ting explained that modern values  have changed, and the focus on continuing the family name is no longer prominent. As societal trends progress, more ownership options have emerged, with pets like dogs and cats no longer being the only choices. Rabbits, hamsters, long-lived tortoises, and parrots have also gained popularity.

Wang, You-ting explained that in modern life, human relationships have become more distant. Compared to humans, pets have relatively simple minds. The human world is filled with complex emotions, such as betrayal and hatred, while interacting with animals is much simpler. Zhang, Wei-zhi added that when people experience stress, being in the company of pets allows individuals to be influenced by the innocent emotions of animals. As a result, most pet owners exhibit positive psychological conditions.

Chen, Zhao-rong also mentioned that the companionship of pets make her feel needed. Taking care of dogs one-sided makes her realize her own value, and this is not a unilateral contribution. Dogs not only keep her company but also serve as outlets for her emotions, and after years of bonding, their emotional connection becomes deeper.

Petconomy: Market Industry of Companion Animals

Chen, Zhao-rong indicated that not only DINKs (Double Income, no kids) would entrust pet photographers to capture pictures of their pets, but nuclear families also bring their children and pets to take family photos or portraits together. Chen explained that in the past, people came for the photo shoots when their pets were leaving. But now, in order to celebrate their pets’ birthdays, owners record their pets’ growth process through professional photography.

Pet photographer shooting pictures of pets.Photo/Zhao-rong Chen

Not only pet photography, pet travel is also a popular choice for many owners. Chen,Yi-ling said that there are many types of pet travel, including spring flower viewing and travel arranged for special festivals. If the pet owner is not an outdoor lover, the indoor tour of the villa is also an option. By designing a variety of tours, different customer groups can choose for themselves, and the price will vary according to different agencies.

People have also begun to pay attention to the spiritual communication with pets. Kate explained that many parents will ask about the physical and psychological conditions of their pets. Although they can get more information about their pets’ thoughts, she said that their physical conditions still need to seek more professional treatment, such as taking X-rays and blood tests.

Pets owners and their pets go on trips with pet travel agency.Photo/Yi-ling Chen

Diversified pet businesses show that human beings pay more attention to the needs of their furry children. Businessmen are now more aware of business opportunities to develop “customized commodity” services, and they are also optimistic about the future development and potential business opportunity of the petconomy. 

The increasing pet spending trends are not limited to food but have also branched out to pet health and wellness, grooming, and even travel. To the pet owners, pets are members of the family, deserving the same level of love and attention as any other member of the family.

Posts created 5

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top