Pet health market growth in China
According to the market research made by Frost & Sullivan, the pet industry, which includes food, medical, grooming, and general products, is expected to reach RMB472.3 billion ($66.8 billion) in China by 2023. According to datamintelligence.com, The China Animal Health Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6 – 7% during the period 2020-2027. The Chinese pet health market is growing, mainly due to the following factors:
- Demographic trends and changing perceptions of pet ownership
- the rising popularity of pet ownership
- the willingness of owners to increase spending on their pet’s health
- the introduction of healthcare innovations
Chinese pet owners are becoming increasingly aware of their pets’ health and nutrition and are also looking for veterinary services. This, in turn, is creating a growing demand for diversified forms of pet health care products.
Pet health products
The products of the pet health market mainly include:
- medicinal feed additives
The vaccine segment is expected to have the next highest market share as it strengthens the immune system against disease-causing pathogens. Indeed, growing cases of health problems in pets have resulted in the need for vaccinations against multiple diseases. Owners are increasingly concerned about the safety of their pets and are now opting for preventative vaccines in advance.
China Pet Health Industry Segmentation by animals
The pet Health market is segmented by animals into cats, dogs, equine, fishes, and others, in any case, the market is dominated by dogs and cats.
Anyway, the Chinese pet economy is still in its infancy, and there is still significant potential for greater pet ownership in the country. This can be inferred from the fact that in 2018, 100 million households, or 22% of total households, in the country owned a pet, which is far less than the United States, where 67% of families owned pets.
Who’s driving the Pet health market in China?
Chinese millennials are the driving force behind this market. Young Millennials under the age of 30 accounted for 45.2% of the total pet owners in China in 2019, while Millennials aged 30 to 40 made up 29.5% of the pet owner population.
This younger demography drives the growing demand for online resources. This is especially evident given the popularity of apps and forums for pets in China.
Unlike their older generation counterparts who seek a simple company, Millennials take care of their pets. They see animal welfare as a top priority and are also willing to spend money on products to ensure they are well-fed and healthy.
Overseas products are the first choice for Chinese pets owner
Pet owners in China are among the most experienced digitalization buyers in the world. Almost 90% purchased pet products online, with many often turning to cross-border e-commerce platforms to find premium and high-quality imports that are not yet widely available offline in China.
As an increasing number of consumers in China try to offer the best to their pets, this market represents a significant growth track for international brands that go beyond the essential elements for establishing trends.
These international players are dominating the market currently with their product development strategies and extensive experience in the production of pet products. Therefore, Chinese consumers are more willing to trust and buy products from these brands. This is especially true in health products.
This vision helps foreign brands to enter the market as there is an opportunity to emphasize their experience, reliability, and knowledge.
Who are the main players of the Chinese pet health industry?
The China pet health market is fragmented with the presence of multiple local and international players. More than 40% of the China pet health market is attributed to the top five players:
- Boehringer Ingelheim
- Bayer Healthcare
- MSD Animal Health (Merck)
Others include China Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd, Dachang, Elanco Animal Health, Vetoquinol SA, and joint ventures like Meili Omni-Honesty (Boehringer Ingelheim and Beijing KangMu Omni-Honesty Animal Health Products Co. Ltd.)
E-commerce is the dominant force in the pet health market in China
E-commerce remained the most important distribution channel for pet health products. The younger generation tends to be more computer savvy and prefers to order pet products online as it is more convenient.
For example, during the recent 618 Tmall shopping festival, pet health products have seen a purchase growth of +208%, and pet food a purchase growth of +634%.
How to promote your pet health products in China?
Brands that want to enter the Chinese market should understand that Chinese consumers don’t buy products they don’t know, therefore branding in China is essential to reach consumers and sell your products. In China, when you want to buy a product, people rely on people who have already tried that product, friends, reviews on social networks, and especially the reviews of their idols.
Therefore, a good digital marketing campaign is essential to allow your brand to enter the Chinese market. With over 800 million Internet users today and a vibrant social media scene, well thought out digital marketing in Chinese strategy is essential.
The solution for a successful digital marketing campaign is to adapt your strategy to the market. Copying a strategy that works in your country might be risky because tradition and culture are of primary importance for the Chinese and it is a good move for brands to refer to the Chinese.
Therefore, you should localize your content and promote your products on Chinese channels like the Chinese search engine Baidu, Chinese social networks like WeChat and Weibo, Chinese forums, and Q&A platforms, and then sell your products on Chinese e-commerce platforms.
Use Baidu to get visibility in the Chinese market
When the Chinese need to search for information or check something: they use Baidu. Baidu is the most powerful search engine in China, the most used. Have you ever heard of this Chinese expression: “Baidu yi xia ba” (the equivalent of “google it”)?
The first step of your digital marketing campaign is to get visibility on Baidu. How to do so?
A brand should create a Chinese website, hosted in China and get an ICP license because Baidu knows only Mandarin and gives priority to websites hosted in China, so they are extremely important for your SEO ranking.
If you want to break into the Chinese market, Baidu SEO is a must step and a must-have. However, Baidu is really different from Google, if you want to know more, you can contact us.
In addition, Baidu Zhidao, Baidu Baike, and Baidu Tieba are part of the Baidu ecosystem and they are excellent at driving traffic to your website obviously since they belong to Baidu, they tend to rank higher.
Baidu PPC is a great tool to use as the first step in your global marketing strategy. It gives you some credibility, if you can make Baidu ads, it means you are a real brand and also bring your first visitors to your website. In a second step, it will work great combined with a good SEO strategy. Both channels will support each other in a sustainable way.
Baidu ads will be full of challenges from the moment you register. It can take several months but once you’ve set up a good routine with your ads, it is a great tool a complete the rest of your marketing effort.
Chinese social networks a great option to promote pet-related product
Social media in China are the best place to work on your branding and therefore to get visibility on the Chinese market. Choosing the right social media to reach your goal is the most important step of your journey, however, there are so many it can be tricky. However, GMA can help you to find the right one for your brand and products.
Word of mouth and big communities are at the heart of the Chinese internet and a brand should not underestimate their functionalities. In addition, the majority of social media in China are social eCommerce, it means that they use UGC and their communities to sell. A brand can promote and sell products directly in the same app, using one of these platforms can be an alternative to Tmall and JD, cheaper, and offers tools to build your e-reputation.
Work on your E-reputation with Wechat: Necessary for your Pets Brand
WeChat is the app on which the Chinese spend most of their time, with over a billion active users and more than one million transactions per minute, WeChat is an aggregator of features that allow the user a true omnichannel experience.
It is thus the best way to offer your brand visibility and create a community that will follow you. In addition, WeChat mini-programs, “mini-apps” built into the WeChat app itself, concern all types of services: sales, e-commerce, and government services.
Weibo the perfect place for buzz marketing
With 520 million monthly active users, Weibo is the second most used social network in China, presenting itself as a micro-blogging platform.
Weibo has been around since 2007 and is part of Chinese netizens’ social media routine. It might not be as popular as it was once, but good commercial content on Weibo can be a lot more impactful than on Wechat.
With Weibo, it is easy to share and get viral. It is an open social media, everyone can see everything and comments everywhere which encourages people to comments and engage between them and with a brand.
After registering on Weibo as a business, it is necessary that you get it verified. It will give you access to more tools and give you more credibility with your followers.
On Weibo is crucial to keep in touch with your followers by answering questions, giving suggestions but also by keeping your Weibo page alive by posting good content, easy to consume, and easy to share.
Press release & Pet-related Forums
PR is a marketing tool that excludes Paid ads. It consists of having an authority profile talking about your company. It can be media (newspapers, blogs..), KOLs, or even the community.
Let People talk about your brand increasing brand awareness among Chinese people. KOLs and communities are powerful and widely listen to the Chinese internet.
The most known Chinese forums for pet products are Smellme, Yourpet, Liuliu, Boqii, and Fdog.
The Chinese Q&A platform Zhihu
Zhihu is a Chinese Q&A platform launched in 2011, it is similar in the west to Quora and Yahoo answers. It has never stopped growing and evolving to suit its users. The platforms have developed many tools such as Zhihu Class which are a kind of ted talk.
To be present on Zhihu will allow you to answer questions about your field but also to educate your target audience about your brands/products in an undercover way. It is an excellent tool to increase your conversion rate and to increase brand awareness.
The platform has an array of features that can be used to create and manage a community around a topic related to your brand. Use these tools to engage with your audience and exchange information with them but also to build your authority.
Chinese e-commerce platforms
In China more than everywhere else the reputation of a brand is what will make the difference. Chinese consumers do trust new brands and are not risk-takers, resulting in a very low conversion rate. E-reputation should be the basis of your marketing strategy when doing e-commerce in China.
The most known e-commerce platforms, which sell all kinds of products, included pet health products, are: Tmall, Suning, Kaola, and JD.com.
Tmall is the biggest B2C (business-to-consumer) platform in China. Tmall was launched by Alibaba group in 2010 and since its creation is the number one online sales platform in the Asian giant. Tmall is a general marketplace and offers consumers all kinds of products from over 100,000 brands.
Tmall Global, Tmall cross-border e-commerce version, allows international businesses with no physical presence in mainland China to set up an online store on the platform.
Tmall Global allows companies to avoid certain procedures such as:
- to have a physical store or a warehouse
- to be registered with the Chinese authorities
- to have a Chinese business license
JD.com(京东Jīngdōng) is a Chinese e-commerce company headquartered in Beijing. It is the second B2C online retailer in China after Alibaba’s Tmall. It is partly owned by Tencent, which has a 20% stake in the company.
The company, founded by Liu Qiangdong in 1998, started as an online magneto-optical store, but soon diversified, selling electronics, mobile phones, computers, and similar items.
Today, JD.com is an eCommerce platform that boasts an incredibly wide range of products that includes categories such as cosmetics, fresh food, clothing, and much more. JD.com dominates above all the electronic products and fresh food market.
The fastest-growing products in terms of sales are cosmetics, food, and electronic products. It offers millions of different items of thousands of brands from more than 170,000 retailers.
JD Worldwide, the multilingual cross-border global sales platform similar to Tmall Global, allows merchants to sell directly to Chinese consumers despite not having a physical presence in China.
JD Worldwide operates as a large online shopping center that houses showcases of foreign brands and several national and regional pavilions that collect the excellence of the various countries.
With cross-border e-commerce, foreign products can be sold in China without having to face the long and complex authorization procedure with the competent local authorities, which is mandatory for export and sale through traditional channels.
JD VS TMALL
Once registered on Tmall, the supplier can take care of his “store”. It must manage:
- the promotion of its brand
- the delivery of its goods
- the management of customer service etc.
So this option is similar to having your own website. However, you benefit from the Tmall interface. This will give you visibility and credibility with Chinese consumers.
JD, on the other hand, would be seen as a simple store offering a lot of products, as JD takes care of everything. So this option is very convenient! Because once your products are exchanged with JD, your role ends there. JD will buy the product in bulk and take care of the remaining tasks.
To choose between the two platforms, it is necessary to know what degree of responsibility you want to have on your goods and what degree of control you wish to keep on the e-commerce interface.
Suning.com is an e-commerce platform that ranks among the top three Chinese B2C companies. The operation categories include all kinds of products from home appliances, books, household commodities, to cosmetics, baby care products, pet health products.
Kaola a good option to sell pet health products
Kaola is a cross-border e-commerce platform, part of the NetEase group (group listed on NASDAQ).
The platform provides online sales of various imported products via cross-border e-commerce. The products range from cosmetics to food supplements and pet health products.
All foreign products on the platform are managed and purchased directly from local suppliers through various factories around the world. The goods are shipped directly from the country of origin and stored in the customs warehouses in China under the control and surveillance of the customs office and the CIQ (China exit-entry Inspection & Quarantine Bureau) or the office that inspects and monitors the incoming and outgoing products that pass through the Chinese border.
Kaola signed an agreement with the Chinese customs office to implement a traceability system to allow consumers to more easily trace the origin of the product by scanning the QR code.
Kaola also offers various promotions including daily offers, member offers, special coupons, and more, which attract many Chinese consumers looking for foreign goods and affordable prices.
Do you want to know more about How to use Chinese channels to boost sales? Contact GMA a digital marketing agency, specialized in the Chinese digital market.