China owns the biggest population in the world, but the pet accessories market is usually underestimated by western brands. In fact, the pet industry in China is growing rapidly with an increasing amount of pet owners. While luxury brands are developing their own line of pet accessories and pet foods, these new collections are rapidly out of stock in China. If you have launched a pet accessories line or if you are wondering if it should be your next move, this article is for you.
Analysis of the Pet Accessories Market in China
Stopping with a Rumor: “No Chinese People Raise Dogs”
There is a very ridiculous rumor claiming that “No Chinese people raise dogs because they use it as meat”. For any marketer, it is important to step away from the cliché. Are there any Chinese people who eat dogs? Yes, there are, but very small groups. Eating dog meat is an old tradition in some regions of China. With the growth of dog owners in China, there are fewer and fewer people eating dog meat. In 2011, the government of Zhejiang canceled the Dog Meat Festival which lasted for hundred of years.
Hence yes, Chinese people have a dog as a pet. And they actually treat them very well, being amongst the top worldwide spenders for their pets.
The Chinese Pet’s Accessories Market Value
According to the 2021 White Paper on China’s Pet Industry, the market value of pet accessories for urban pets (mainly dogs and cats) has reached 35.76 billion USD. The year-on-year growth rate has reached 20.6%. The market is highly related to the pets markets, which is predicted to grow from 43 billion USD in 2020 to 64 billion in 2023. If we assume that the growth rate of pet accessories can keep pace with the growth of the pet market, then its market value will probably reach 44.35 billion USD by 2023.
Who are the Pet Owners in China Today?
A report shows that younger generations are more willing to keep a pet. The research shows that in 2021, 46.3% of pet owners are born in the 90s, followed by people born in the 80s with a 30.5% share. People born in the 70s and before the 70s only counted for 15.7% and 7.5% of Chinese pet owners. This phenomenon is caused by the increasing life quality of younger generations.
Trends of the Pet Industry in China
The Raise of Premium and Luxury Pet Accessories
When more and more people are willing to spend more on their pets, a demand for high-end pet accessories was raised. Modern pet owners are now treating their pets like family, so luxury lovers are also willing to purchase luxury accessories for their pets.
Many big brands have seen this trend and launched their pet accessories collections. Gucci is one of these pioneer brands. In June 2022, Gucci launched its pet collection for dogs and cats featuring the house’s signature motifs. This collection includes 3 categories: accessories, ready-to-wear, and household items. All products are designed with classic Gucci elements and creative designs.
Cloud Pet: A New Way of Keeping a Pet on Social Media
While not everyone is able to keep a pet they like for many reasons, the concept of “Cloud Pet” emerged. This is when people cannot keep their own pets, they can watch pictures and videos of other people’s pets on social media to keep a pet on the internet. There are lots of bloggers posting photos and videos of their pets’ daily life and attracting millions of followers. Their followers can also give a contribution to the pet owners to buy pet food or accessories for the pet.
Pet Has Become a Hot Topic on Social Media
When there are more and more people who want to watch photos and videos of pets, more and more owners are sharing their pets on social media. This sharing of pet information also exists among pet owners for communication. There are also a lot of pet owners who want to learn more knowledge about pets and pet consumption. All these demands created lots of communities on Chinese social media including Bilibili, WeChat, Douyin, Weibo, and Xiaohongshu.
How to Market Your Pet Accessories in China?
Cooperate With Pet Bloggers to Target your Audience
When there are more and more people following pet bloggers on social media, these bloggers are acting as Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) and Key Opinion Consumers (KOC) at the same time. Launching a campaign with them can help your brand target the right audience, but you need to choose the blogger carefully. This is because that depends on their post or video content, their audience might be different. Some bloggers are attracting only non-pet audiences, so your effort will have a very slight effect. It is better to choose those bloggers with much experience who are sharing their knowledge and experience in their posts and videos. In this way, you can target more pet owners and can enjoy a higher return on investment.
Use Social Media to Boost your Exposure and Brand Awareness
Your main marketing channel in China will be, and can only be social media. In the 2020s, traditional advertisements are no longer effective when people are bored with them. On social media, your brand image can spread rapidly among your audience, which can help you build up your brand reputation quickly.
The choice of social media is important as well. When we already know that most pet owners are younger generations, those platforms with a lower average user age are better choices. Bilibili and Xiaohongshu are 2 social media with a majority of young users from first and second-tier cities. Ideal for promoting your pets’ accessories brands.
Bilibili, the Chinese YouTube to Propose Videos about Pet Knowledge
Bilibili is the Chinese equivalent of YouTube. You will need to incorporate this social media to your strategy if you want to target the right audience. The first step will be to create an official account. This process can take 3 to 4 weeks and you will need to upload all your brand documents and translate some of them into Chinese. When the account is officially live, you can post regular content with 2 strategies:
- Brand content: You directly share your own videos with the correct copywriting, SEO optimization and keywords. You will need to build a strong content plan with different videos orientation and objectives to provide useful content to your audience and seduce them.
- Influencers collaboration: You can also collaborate with KOL or KOC to organize videos around your brand. It can be promotional videos to directly advertize your products or it can be short-form movies that incorporate your product in a smarter way.
Little Red Book, the Chinese Instagram to join the Pet Community
Little Red Book or Xiaohongshu is the successful social media for luxury and lifestyle brands to this day. The pet community is very large in this media. The app itself displayed the category “Pets” as you can see below to enable pet lovers to subscribe to this content only. More and more Chinese women and men are sharing pictures of their pet and browsing content about brands to take care of their pet.
Being Professional is Your Key Leverage
What can be your key leverage in China? When there are too many local brands selling cheaper pet accessories, if you are not a brand like Gucci, your key to success is to be professional. Since you definitely cannot beat local producers on the price, you need to make sure your quality is worth the price.
Chinese E-commerce for Your Easier Sales
In China, e-commerce has become part of daily life. People are used to buying most goods online for more choices, convenient delivery, and better price. To make sure your brand can be sold in the whole of China with a single investment, you should open your e-shop on Tmall or JD, the 2 main e-commerce in China. You can also decide to launch on Tmall Global or JD Global depending on your business license localization. These two are enabling CBEC (cross-border e-commerce) which means you can register your store and sell in China with an international license and an international trademark. If you want to register a Chinese business license, you can count on 6 to 8 months to have it.
Social Media E-commerce: A Plus or A Waste?
In recent years, many different social media in China decided to launch their e-store. This enables brands to open a store on social media which can allow your customers to make a quick purchase on the same app. The benefit of opening a social media e-store is a higher conversion rate of your audience on social media. The yearly fees of these e-commerce stores are cheaper than traditional e-commerce platforms.
Brands should carefully decide if they want to open a store on social media depending on their budget and business size. If a brand only wants to open one e-store in China, then Tmall is still the best choice. Why? Because a lot of lifestyle and luxury customers still go straight to this platform to search for the product they want and purchase it. If you only open an e-store on social media, you might miss this large customer group.
GMA: Your Best Partner in Marketing
GMA is a marketing agency based in Shanghai, the commercial center of China. With more than 10 years of experience in China, we don’t only know the Chinese market, but also the Chinese culture and customers. GMA offers our clients with 360°services from marketing research to daily operations on social media and e-commerce. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to enter the Chinese market, because GMA will handle it.
How Can GMA Support Your Brand
GMA can offer you a variety of services. We will take your brand identity, your target, and your budget into consideration, and make the most suitable strategy for you. We focus on your ROI and long-term benefit in the Chinese market, so we never try to sell as many services to you as possible. After we decided on your marketing plan, we can walk you through the launch in China. GMA has a professional team with 70+ experts, from your distribution to the daily operation, we will always be by your side.
With the launch of the GMA Luxury Division, we are now more professional in luxury, fashion, and premium brands than ever. Directed by Anais Bournonville, a former LVMH+ talent, we can provide you with deeper insight and professional suggestions. Don’t hesitate to contact her for a free consult, and see yourself in the Chinese market in the 2020s!
Mike in China
According to data provided by Tmall Global, 70% of consumers who buy pet food are women