Wild Growth in the Japanese Pet Industry amidst the Epidemic! Inspiration from cross-border seller selection

Japan has always referred to itself as a “lonely society”, and coupled with the severe aging phenomenon in Japan, more and more people are choosing to raise pets to alleviate loneliness and warm their lives.

dog beds

Compared to countries such as Europe and America, Japan’s pet ownership history is not particularly long. However, according to the “2020 National Dog and Cat Breeding Survey” by the Japan Pet Food Association, the number of pet cats and dogs in Japan reached 18.13 million in 2020 (excluding stray cats and dogs), even exceeding the number of children under the age of 15 in the country (as of 2020, 15.12 million people).

Economists estimate that the size of the Japanese pet market, including pet healthcare, beauty, insurance and other related industries, has reached around 5 trillion yen, equivalent to approximately 296.5 billion yuan. In Japan and even around the world, the COVID-19 epidemic has made pet keeping a new trend.

dog clothes

Current situation of the Japanese pet market

Japan is one of the few “pet powers” in Asia, with cats and dogs being the most popular pet type. Pets are considered a part of the family by Japanese people, and according to statistics, 68% of dog households spend over 3000 yen per month on pet grooming. (27 USD)

Japan is one of the regions with the most complete pet consumption industry chain in the world, except for essential items such as food, toys, and daily necessities. Emerging services such as pet grooming, travel, medical care, weddings and funerals, fashion shows, and etiquette schools are also becoming increasingly popular.

At last year’s pet exhibition, high-end intelligent products received much attention. For example, a smart cat litter basin with built-in sensors and mobile phone linkage can automatically count relevant data such as weight and usage time when a cat goes to the bathroom, providing pet owners with timely information on their pet’s health status.

In terms of diet, pet health food, special formula feed, and natural healthy ingredients play an extremely important role in the Japanese pet market. Among them, foods specifically designed for pet health include soothing mental stress, joints, eyes, weight loss, bowel movements, deodorization, skin care, hair care, and more.

dog cage

According to data from the Yano Economic Research Institute in Japan, the market size of the pet industry in Japan reached 1570 billion yen (approximately 99.18 billion yuan) in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 1.67%. Among them, the pet food market size is 425 billion yen (approximately 26.8 billion yuan), a year-on-year increase of 0.71%, accounting for approximately 27.07% of the entire pet industry in Japan.

Due to the continuous improvement of pet medical conditions and the fact that 84.7% of dogs and 90.4% of cats are kept indoors all year round, pets in Japan are less prone to illness and live longer. In Japan, the life expectancy of dogs is 14.5 years, while the life expectancy of cats is approximately 15.5 years.

The growth of elderly cats and dogs has led owners to hope to maintain the health of their elderly pets by supplementing nutrition. Therefore, the increase in elderly pets has directly driven the growth of high-end pet food consumption, and the trend of humanization of pets in Japan is evident in the context of upgrading pet product consumption.

Guohai Securities stated that according to Euromonitor data, various non retail specialty stores (such as pet supermarkets) were the largest food sales channel in Japan in 2019, accounting for up to 55%.

Between 2015 and 2019, the proportion of Japanese supermarket convenience stores, mixed retailers, and veterinary clinic channels remained relatively stable. In 2019, these three channels accounted for 24.4%, 3.8%, and 3.7% respectively.

It is worth mentioning that due to the development of e-commerce, the proportion of online channels in Japan has slightly increased, from 11.5% in 2015 to 13.1% in 2019. The outbreak of the 2020 epidemic has led to the savage growth of online pet product sales in Japan.

For cross-border e-commerce sellers who want to become pet category sellers in the Japanese market, it is not recommended to choose pet food related products, as the top five giants in the Japanese pet food industry, Mars, Eugenia, Colgate, Nestle, and Rice Leaf Price Company, have market share of 20.1%, 13%, 9%, 7.2%, and 4.9% respectively, and are increasing year by year, resulting in fierce competition.

How to stand out and leverage advantages from domestic pet industry brands in Japan?

It is recommended that cross-border sellers start with high-tech pet products, such as water dispensers, automatic feeders, pet cameras, etc. And the surrounding areas such as pet food packaging, pet care, and pet toys can also serve as entry points.

Japanese consumers value quality and safety, so cross-border sellers must obtain relevant qualifications when selling related products to reduce unnecessary trouble. Cross border e-commerce sellers in other regions can also refer to Japanese pet e-commerce product selection suggestions. In the current situation where the epidemic is still severe, the pet market is ready to erupt at any time!

Post time: Aug-26-2023