China’s pet food market is expected to grow at 26.8% to reach Rmb 241.7 billion (US$33 billion) by 2025 as more Chinese brands are coming on the market, aided by the rise of e-commerce platforms, according to a recent report by iiMedia Research.
Wang Xiangqian, Executive Chairman of the China Feed Industry Association’s pet food division said that the number of pet food business licenses in China had more than doubled to 563 from the 2018 figure. In addition, the number of pet food producers have tripled to nearly 400 while output grew by 50% to 1.2 million tons.
E-commerce seems to be one of the few major marketing channels for pet food in China. Pet commodity sales on NetEase’ e-retail arm Yanxuan has more than doubled every year for the past 3 years.
Meanwhile, the gap between foreign and Chinese pet food brands is narrowing. Last year, imported brands accounted for 59% of sales while Chinese brands are closing the gap at 41%. In the first half 2023, the top 5 pet food brands on TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin were all Chinese brands signifying the growing popularity of domestic brands. In the past, Chinese pet owners bought more US and European brands like those owned by Nestle.
Domestic brands are catching up fast with foreign brands, although France’s Royal Canin is still the best seller. Most imported products are sold by 3rd party agencies in China with little customer support. Now, many Chinese firms which used to be producers for overseas brands earning small profit, are developing their own brands.
Meanwhile, overall spending on pets in China climbed 8.7% in 2022 from 2021 to Rmb 270.6 billion (US$37.2 billion). Spending on dogs expanded 3.1% in 2022 while spending on cats jumped 16.1%.