What was an extremely small sector in 2007 is now the fastest growing pet industry in the world. If you live in India you can almost feel it happening, as pet shops pop up all over the place.
The Indian market is unique in many ways. For example, contrary to global trends, the dog is the most popular pet in India. Cats make up just 10% of the total pet population.
Average family size in India is shrinking. Smaller families and a change in mindset are fuelling a growing trend towards pet ownership. Children go to more progressive schools and feel the family is not complete without a pet. Pet owners are also evolving into pet parents, who treat their pets like family members.
Pet owners in India are from upper class or upper middle class families. Purchasing power has grown dramatically as disposable income increases. So the nature of consumption is also likely to change immensely over the next twenty years. Pet parents want premium products for their beloved pets.
From equine doctors to small animal vets
A key change in the Indian pet industry is the way veterinary clinics have evolved. Historically, veterinary services in India were there to help large animals. The first veterinary college was started by the British in 1862 to train people to treat army horses. As the pet industry grows, veterinary science has also entered a new era.
In the late 90s, pet owners gained access to the internet and veterinarians had to adapt to new trends in medicine and diagnostics. In the past decade, veterinary clinics have begun to approach petcare very differently, offering many more treatment facilities. New clinics have opened and existing ones are being upgraded.
New digital world
Pet owners in India are now digitally savvy and well educated. This means there is an untapped market that is expected to follow the path of more developed nations. Start-ups appear regularly, each with their own innovations, and some offering solutions using the internet of things (IoT).
The internet has lowered many barriers to building brands, as sales channels become more democratic. In this new environment, there is a rise in so-called digitally native vertical brands: those ‘born’ online. Just one of the many exciting things happening in the Indian pet industry.