Pet industry sitting on a gold mine as nearly 50% of Thais don’t want children: survey


Thailand's pet industry outlook has strong potential to expand exponentially among “petsumers”, as more than 49% of Thais currently prefer to adopt pets over having children, a recent survey by the College of Management Mahidol University (CMMU) revealed.

The report defines "petsumers" as a new type of customers who are willing to pay as long as it can pamper their pets. The term has been introduced to assist marketers in pleasing high-spending pet lovers.

The findings, made public on Wednesday, are part of a survey of Thailand's pet business trend, which is booming since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pacharapun Thiensiri, a CMMU student and the study team leader, revealed that 49% of the sample group considered their pets to be surrogate children, a practice known as pet parenting, followed by pet prestige for social status (34%), and pet healing (18%).

Dogs continue to be the most popular pet, preferred by 40.4%, followed by cats (37.1%) and other exotic animals (22.6%).

Additionally, 39.3% of respondents are willing to spend an average of 10,000 to 20,000 baht per pet annually.

This corresponds to the dog-cat registration database's domestication rate in Thailand, which has increased significantly year after year.

He said that the average annual cost of caring for a puppy is 14,200 baht per animal for both dogs and cats. Bathing and haircutting are the most frequently used services by pet owners, accounting for up to 61% of all services.

"The study aimed to understand more petlovers' behaviour in depth so that marketers can communicate with and win the hearts of these consumers," Pacharapun explained.

Despite the economic downturn caused by Covid-19, Asst Prof Boonying Kongarchapatara, chair of the marketing programme at CMMU, pointed out that the pet business industry is rapidly developing.

Euromonitor predicts that the global pet market will be worth up to US$217.615 billion in 2026, representing a 7.2% annual growth rate.

In Thailand, the Ministry of Commerce's Department of Business Development estimates that the Thai pet market will grow at an average annual rate of 8.4% to 66.748 billion baht in 2026.

At a seminar session titled "Petsumer Marketing: Acquiring insights to catch high spending and committed pet owners”, Boonying said that currently many businesses are using a pet marketing strategy to engage with pet owners.

Pets are used in brand identity to communicate with target audiences and create a memorable brand image, as well as for other marketing purposes, he said.

Pet industry sitting on a gold mine as nearly 50% of Thais don’t want children: survey

Advertisements that include both animals and products have a 43.82% influence on purchase decisions because animals capture the attention of customers.

"It’s not necessary to make a hard sale. It's a technique to capitalise on the cuteness of pets. This ‘Pet Influencer’ technique implies that pets can deliver marketing benefits, such as assisting in the promotion of products or services, while also entertaining followers. Furthermore, the cuteness of pets will help attract fans from all around the world, resulting in a huge source of revenue,” Boonying noted.

CMMU has developed a petsumer strategy for marketers to use to delight high-spending pet owners, such as personalisation, accessibility, trustworthiness, uniqueness, mental support, and animal rights based on data from committed pet lovers.

CMMU surveyed through a questionnaire 1,046 people and conducted in-depth interviews with 100 of them. Of the respondents, 66.8% were women, 22.3% men, and 10.9% other sexual orientations. Up to 77.3% of the sample group was in the age group 24-41.