Pet Market in China: Pet Owners Spend 6600 Yuan on Their Pupils

Not so long ago pets weren’t treated with sympathy in China and many people were afraid of dogs, not even imagining having one. But times are changing and now Millennials and Gen Z are influenced by the West (where pets are being treated as companions for many years) to become proud pet owners, wanting to spoil their pupils with the best food and accessories.

Times are changing and young people around the globe decide to have pets instead of having children (or at least before that). The market grew especially during the covid-19 pandemic, and China’s pet industry is no different, as many people were looking for a companion during heavy lockdowns. China’s pet market is expected to grow up to 66.1 billion dollars by 2023. In this blog post, we will take a look at the market trends and see how foreign brands can tackle China’s pet industry.

China’s Pet Industry Overview

According to the 2021 White Paper on China’s Pet Consumption Trends, China’s pet industry will reach 445.6 billion RMB (66.1 billion dollars) by 2023, which is ten times more than in 2013. Chinese pet owners’ behavior changed. Before they were keeping dogs only as guards and they were keeping animals mostly for their practical function. In the past five years, the number of pets in Chinese cities grew by nearly 50%.


But pet ownership in China is still relatively low in comparison to other countries. On average, only around 6% of Chinese people own at least one pet, so the market presents great opportunities, as it’s going to grow even faster. In comparison, 67% of US netizens own a pet. According to Statista, there are more than 200 million pets in China (as of 2021).

Dog owners vs. Cat owners

Dog lovers might get surprised here, but there are more cat owners than dog owners in China. At the end of 2021, there were around 58 million cats and 54 million dogs in China. According to China Briefing, the popularity of cats is growing faster than that of dogs, growing almost 20% year-on-year, while it grew only 4% when it comes to dogs.

Pet owners in China

When it comes to the distribution of pet owners, cat lovers account for 59.5%, while dog lovers take 51.7%. Apart from enthusiasts of furry friends, Chinese people are also fond of aquatic animals (8.3%). One of the reasons for the preference for cats might be also the cost, as pet dogs cost more (average annual spend per dog was 390.62 dollars) than pet cats (average annual spend per cat was 270.79 dollars).

Who are Chinese pet owners?

Research shows that Chinese pet owners are from younger generations, with around 50% being people born after 1980, and 20% being people born after 1990. This means, that the biggest consumer groups for pet supplies, such as pet food, pet services, and various pet products are Chinese Millennials and Gen Z.

This group of consumers presents the greatest potential, as many urban citizens in their 20s and 30s’ have a high income, are well-educated, and are not into having kids. It’s said that ‘pets are new kids and it’s true for many young adults, that are choosing pet ownership instead of having a child. More and more people consider a pet as a family member, especially young adults that are single. In fact, 41% of Chinese pet owners are single. 


Most pet owners come from big cities and are well-educated, with more than 80% having a university degree. 88.45 of pet owners are women, that live in big cities and are often single, with much disposable income to spend. They are looking for a life companion and are often finding it in a pet.

Why the Pet market is growing?

The pet industry is growing everywhere in the world and China is no different. Millennials and Gen Z are the main drivers of the trend, fueled by increased affluence and a declining birth rate. Many of them work long hours, don’t have a partner yet and they are often looking for a companion, that can be easily found in a pet. They are not ready to have kids yet, and many of them still being single, so they often decide to get a cat or a dog instead.

Most of those people were growing up without any siblings, so they use pets as an opportunity to satisfy their emotional needs. The trend speeds up, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. As many people were locked at home, many of them alone, a lot decided to buy or adopt a pet to keep them company.

Pets in China
@ Chinadaily


As China becomes more cosmopolitan, with many young people being influenced by trends from abroad, they started changing their views towards pets in the past few years. Chinese consumers are joining the pet craze, purchasing or adopting not only traditional pets like cats and dogs but also exotic pets, helping the pet economy thrive.

China’s pet market is still unregulated

Chinese pet market started growing mainly thanks to social media platforms, where people and pet influencers started posting photos and funny videos of their cute pupils, making the pets increasingly popular among younger generations. Such fast growth in the market comes with a prize, especially since China doesn’t have many laws and rules regarding animal welfare. 

According to Statistics and data found on Statista, 19% of cats and 13% of dogs were purchased online in 2021. This situation leads to a growing number of unauthorized merchants that want to earn money, by selling pets, without proper care. In May 2021, more than 160 puppies and kittens were found in couriers’ vehicles, dying or distressed. There were sold as ‘blind boxes‘, a type of package authorized by e-commerce platforms in China. 

Pets in China

Additionally, a lack of legal protection for ordinary animals and the growth of the pet economy also leads to an increasing number of stray animals. And as the trend to adopt rather than buy animals is slowly growing in the West, Chinese people prefer to pay for pedigree dogs and cats, following the belief that those are more trendy and cool. 

How to promote and sell pet products in China?

As most of your customers in China will be Millennials and Gen Z, you need to be aware of the fact that your pet products and pet brand need to be available online, as this is where young people get the information from and shop. Pet owners treat online platforms as the primary source to buy pet food, especially when it comes to China’s urban pet market. According to data, 74.5% of pet owners buy pet food online and 80% buy other pet supplies online. 

Therefore, there are some steps you need to take to sell pet-related products in China.

Branding is the Key in China

All the companies from different sectors in China need to take care of their branding in order to succeed in the market. If you want to sell on China’s pet food market, you need to be aware that no one will buy your products if they never heard of you. Building an online presence will give you credibility, allow internet users to talk about your brand on social media, check your website, and eventually recommend you further. 

Moreover, e-commerce platforms in China don’t usually accept brands without a presence in China, as they know it won’t be profitable. 

Build your presence in the Baidu search engine

Baidu is the most popular search engine in China and this is where Chinese people check the information they need, just like we do Google. If you want to join China’s pet economy, you need to be able to be found in Baidu. Therefore, it’s advisable to have your own Chinese website hosted in Mainland China, so that Baidu will rank it in search engine results. 

Pet brand website

Baidu is a whole ecosystem, which means you can use many different platforms for branding and gaining good e-reputation, additionally increasing your score in search results. You can be active on forums like Baidu Tieba and Baidu Zhidao, create communities around your brand, collect consumer feedback and market insights, and so on. 

Position yourself as a luxury brand

Chinese people often consider foreign brands more luxurious than domestic ones and are willing to pay more, believing that the cost is also associated with high-quality products. Young pet owners from big cities are willing to pay more for food products if they are assured about their quality and health benefits. 

As many pet owners treat their pupils as family members, they are ok with extra spending in pet stores on toys and food. They will also take its pupil to pet hospitals with the best care if needed, no matter the cost. 

Build your e-reputation on Chinese social media platforms

Although having a Chinese website will help you gain credibility, all the marketing strategies and ways of communicating with potential and current customers should be centered around Chinese social media platforms, as those are the places where Chinese people get recommendations and inspiration from.


The most important platform to be on is definitely WeChat, as it’s the main app used in China, with over 1.26 billion monthly users. WeChat allows brands to create official accounts, where they can communicate with their audience in form of articles (similar to our newsletters). You can later link your account to a pet store created in WeChat mini-program function. This option allows you to sell your products within WeChat and it’s a great and cheap way to test your brand in China. 

pet shop on wechat

Other social media platforms: Weibo, RED, Douyin

Although WeChat is essential to be seen on the Chinese Internet, it’s not good for reaching out to a new audience. Therefore, it’s good to have brand accounts on social media platforms like Weibo, Little Red Book, or Douyin. There you can create different content formats, collaborate with Chinese influencers to get a bigger reach, organize live-streaming sessions and even sell your products, as both RED and Douyin have their own marketplaces. 

pets on little red book

Attract customers with advanced tech solutions

Chinese people are one of the most tech-savvy nations in the world, especially Millennials and Gen Z, that are always keen on the newest iPhones, laptops, and other gadgets that sometimes are not even known in the West yet. Therefore, all the technologically advanced pet products in China have a huge potential and the market for such products is experiencing constant growth.

From automatic food and water dispensers, electronic collars, and home camera setups, to pet trays that automatically clean themselves – all of these products have many enthusiasts in China and the number of pet owners purchasing gadgets for their pupils is growing. 

Pet accessories

Enter Chinese cross-border e-commerce platforms for the best visibility

After building a presence for your brand online, you can think of entering bigger e-commerce platforms for foreign companies, like Tmall Global, JD Worldwide, or VIPshop. Although all the steps mentioned above are necessary to build a presence and good reputation in China, most Chinese shoppers buy products directly on online marketplaces.

Those marketplaces will give you the best visibility and the highest chance for sales growth, but they are all rather expensive. Pet lovers want the absolute best for their pets therefore they would invest in proper nutrition, bath products, and health care for their pets. They will gladly buy those products on online marketplaces like Tmall or JD, so it’s definitely something to consider, after a successful branding strategy. 

Looking to enter China’s pet market? Contact us!

The pet market in China is booming and it will continue to grow, as more and more young people in China are interested in pet ownership. It’s a very lucrative and untapped market with many great opportunities for domestic and foreign brands in the pet industry. Expected to grow up to 44.5 billion yuan in the next year, the pet economy in China is thriving.

If you are interested in entering the pet market in China, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a China marketing agency. We have more than 10 years of experience in the market and more than 70 Chinese and foreign professionals that can help you exceed your goals in China.

We worked with more than 600 brands, offering unique approaches to each and every one of them, which contributed to their success in China’s competitive landscape. We offer many services, from market research, web design, branding, and public relations, to social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and many more. 

Here are some of our case studies

Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us to discuss your future in China. We offer a free discovery consultation when one of our experts will get to know your brand and present opportunities on the market.

1 comment

  • We are a Company in Canada who have developed products for pet’s oral health, we are currently selling on and Chewy and are doing well on those sites but would like to expand to e -commerce in China, we are a website already as our own marketing team in North America but need help to get into e-commerce in China where the pet industry is huge. Please let me know if we can arrange a zoom meeting.

Leave your comment