Pet care industry: A growing sector but a struggling community in India. The post-COVID era has led to a steep growth in “Friendships” in India as more people are turning into pet parents by the day.
Everyone, India’s pet care industry has seen a rapid growth, driven by an increasing trend of people treating their pets as valued members of their households. However, while the industry has grown significantly, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of the main challenges facing the pet care industry in India is the lack of a robust and organized pet care community. Many pet parents in India rely on local veterinarians, who may not have the necessary training or resources to provide adequate care for their pets. Additionally, there is a shortage of pet-specific products and services in many areas, which makes it difficult for pet parents to find the products and services that they need for their pets. In spite of the overall acceleration in the industry, it is clear that there are still a lot of efforts to be made to establish a strong pet care community. The ecosystem has a considerable lag that is keeping us from reaching our intended goal. While enthusiastic “parents” want to do everything for their pet babies, the only issue that they face is a lack of community or support system to fall back on.
Evolution of pet-human relationship
The first step in creating a pet care community is understanding how pets and humans interact. At the beginning of civilization, humans and animals had a cooperative relationship where animals protected people and assisted them on daily tasks. As time progressed, the relationship gradually developed into a cordial and mutually beneficial relationship. As a result, over time, humans domesticated animals, including dogs and cats, who are now an integral part of our lives and are slowly becoming our best friends and confidants. People are now getting pets for companionship, and the co-dependence shared in the relationship currently is only going to intensify in the future.
Diving into the psychology of pet parents
Understanding why India hasn’t been able to develop a significant pet care society is crucial. This is because people have a propensity to start projects before fully comprehending the complexities that would be involved. Well, the Indian pet care industry supports the assertion. The Indian pet care industry is one of the fastest-growing markets in the country, but the pet care industry is still relatively new, with a CAGR of 15% expected over the next five years. Given that 90% of the customers are first-time pet parents in India, the main challenge encountered is the lack of knowledge and awareness among pet parents.
While Gen Z is always eager to learn more about their pets, non-parents have been found spending hours and hours online just staring at these beautiful fur babies. Although social media has tempted many people to adopt pets, the majority of them still lack access to the knowledge they need to complete their duties as pet parents properly. While obtaining a pet to play with and spend time with may appear to be an exciting and pleasant experience for new pet parents, they rapidly learn that the road is rather arduous. In fact, it becomes increasingly challenging to perfect the art of nonverbal cues.
This issue further escalates to pet food intake, healthcare, veterinarian visits, and other areas. India consumes only 7% of the industry’s key product—pet food, compared to the Western consumption rate of 80%. This clearly depicts the slow growth of the category and illustrates the insights behind the tragic instances that were reported during the pandemic of powerless paw-rents who had no choice but to abandon their fur babies.
Struggles of building the community
The question today is, “If we know what the problem is,” why can’t we solve it? Many pet parents in India rely on local vets, who may lack the requisite skills or resources to care for their pets adequately. Furthermore, there is a scarcity of pet-specific products and services in many places, making it difficult for pet parents to locate the products and services they require for their pets. Aside from that, there is a dearth of pet care awareness and education among pet parents. Furthermore, there is a lack of understanding on proper nutrition and housing needs for different pets.
Regardless of these challenges, the pet care sector in India is likely to expand in the coming years. This will be driven by pet parents’ increased knowledge of the necessity of pet care and a growing demand for pet-specific products and services. Many of these issues can be solved with stakeholders collaborating to develop a robust and organized pet care community in India. The emphasis should be on improving infrastructure, boosting access to training and education, and promoting awareness and knowledge of good pet care among pet parents. It is also worth noting that, by collaborating with government and non-governmental organizations, the sector may play an essential role in promoting responsible pet parenting, animal care, and conservation. The industry can support animal welfare campaigns, lobbying for animal rights, and educate pet parents on how they can make a positive impact on the environment and their local communities.