It's A Dog's Life... In India
My pal Roland teaches elementary school in Compton, one of L.A.'s roughest neighborhoods. He always tells me the kids don't have any clue that they're poor. I didn't either when I was a kid. In fact, I never even thought about it until I wasn't poor-- when I was in my thirties. I was making $100/week and thought I was the king of the world. And when I was really a little kid we had a dog, which I found out on American Public Media's Marketplace yesterday, is a mark of wealth. At least societally. Yes, puppies, apparently are the new indicator of prosperity... at least in other countries. In the U.S. it costs around $1,580 a year to own a medium-sized dog but that isn't what it costs in other countries. Nonetheless, the rise in dog-ownership in India is being touted as a mark of that country's growing prosperity. Dog ownership is up 58% since 2007, the fastest growth rate in the world. (The aforementioned Roland ate dog in Beijing so I guess that accounts for why China-- up only 2.3%-- isn't ahead of India in this one metric of growth.)
Among India’s upper class, high-end dog trainers are helping to housebreak pampered pups in big cities, where US-based DOGTV is now available via satellite, playing calm music for pets left at home alone along with shows supposedly intended to improve their behavior.India looks like a good bet for entrepreneurs wanting to get rich in the pet business:
The 1 percenters of Indian dogs enjoy birthday parties complete with cakes “made of flour, cheese and chicken tikkas, garnished with a rib-shaped biscuit on top,” Reuters reported. Another Euromonitor report estimated that India’s pet industry is expected to grow 22 percent this year and reach 4.5 billion rupees (around $81 million), while the per capita income is $1,256.
And upper-crust dogs fare even better in Brazil, according to Quartz…
Dogs are taken in droves to be blessed by priests in honor of St. Francis of Assisi; a few are even ferried about in “pet taxis,” taken for dog face lifts, or brought to breed in a doggie “love motel.”
Pet care maintains double-digit retail value growth
Pet care in India is set to continue to register strong double-digit retail value growth in 2011. This growth will be driven by several factors, such as rising disposable income, higher awareness of the dietary needs of pets and the benefits of pet food. Consumers are increasingly turning to their pets for companionship and they are willing to spend on their wellbeing. In pet food, the gradual shift from non-prepared to prepared food continues due to the realization of the convenience and health benefits offered by prepared food. Within pet products, grooming products, pet healthcare and pet dietary supplements are expected to post strong growth in popularity, as pet owners take a greater interest in providing comfort to pets and improving their health.
Increasing product specialization in premium pet food
The category is seeing a growing trend of specialization in pet food in terms of specific products for dogs and cats, based on age, breed and size. Demand for these products is mainly driven by the humanization of pets and rising disposable income among urban consumers. In dog food, premium brands such as Royal Canin (Royal Canin India Pvt Ltd) are highly specialized, catering to different breeds, sizes and life stages. In large cities, young puppies under six months are increasingly fed exclusively-packaged dog food which is especially formulated for puppies. Product specialization is less evident in cat food and focused mainly on different life stages or flavours. This is because dog owners tend to be more interested in learning about different breeds and their pet’s nutritional needs than cat owners.
Multinationals dominate pet care in India
Multinational players are expected to continue to lead pet care in 2011. Mars International India Pvt Ltd retained its leadership position in 2010, followed by two multinationals, Provimi Animal Nutrition India Pvt Ltd and Royal Canin India Pvt Ltd. This was partly due to several acquisitions that took place in 2009, which resulted in consolidation in pet care and the multinationals gaining value share. Multinational players benefited from strong brand awareness and loyalty, the offer of quality products and the availability of resources for marketing and education. International brands, such as Hill’s Science Diet from Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc, continued to enter the pet food category in 2010-2011, with the offer of various health and wellness products, as manufacturers saw growing demand for niche products in urban areas.
Pet shops remains the leading channel of distribution
Pet shops is set to remain the leading distribution channel for pet care in 2011, as this channel offers a wide variety of brands as well as pet care advice to consumers. Veterinary clinics is the second most popular channel, as vets are trusted for their professional advice. The supermarkets/hypermarkets channel is growing in importance, because leading pet food brands such as Pedigree (Mars International India Pvt Ltd) are available in these outlets.
Pet care expected to achieve robust growth over the forecast period
Over the forecast period, pet care is expected to register a positive performance. With pet ownership on the rise, there will be greater demand for pet care products. The shift towards prepared food will continue as pet owners search for convenience. Urban consumers may trade up to premium products or specialised products, as they gain a better understanding of their pets’ needs and the benefits of various products. Moreover, as the status of pets is elevated, demand for pet care is expected to become more sophisticated, with pet owners buying not just pet food, but also pet products to meet their needs in terms of healthcare, grooming and leisure.