Pet spending surges during pandemic

The "pet humanisation trend" is giving rise to new specialised business fields such as dog salons in the pet industry.

Lee Yoon-seo

Lee Yoon-seo

The Korea Herald



April 18, 2023

SEOUL – South Korean’s annual expenditure per capita on pets, along with the nation’s pet-related businesses, is growing steadily, data released Monday showed.

Purchase records from 2019 to 2022 compiled by the big data center at major Korean card firm Shinhan Card showed that the average annual spending per person at a slew of pet-related services or products — such as animal hospitals, dog hotels, dog cafes, and dog salons — recorded 353,000 won ($268) last year, the highest in four years.

The number comes as the data indicated that the average annual card spending per person on the pet market had continuously increased over the course of four years, from 262,000 won in 2019, 283,000 won in 2020 to 313,000 won in 2021.

According to the data, the number of card payments related to pet-related services jumped by 21 percent last year as well, compared to 2019.

In relation to increased spending by Korean consumers on pet-related commodities, Shinhan Card’s data also showed that the number of newly established pet-related franchises had increased significantly by 48 percent last year, compared to 2019.

In particular, the number of newly established dog hotels and dog training facilities increased by 211 percent and 275 percent, respectively, and facilities specializing in providing dog bath services and dog cafes had also soared by 144 percent and 50 percent, respectively, last year.

“The boom in nation’s pet industry follows the ‘pet humanization’ trend, where people consider pets as their families. The trend comes as people are increasingly giving up marriage and childbirth,” said Lee Eun-hee, a consumer science professor at Inha University.

“The ‘pet humanization trend’ is giving rise to new specialized business fields such as dog salons in the pet industry, and, people are constantly provided with new opportunities to spend money for their pets. In regard to this, we fully expect Korea’s pet market to expand in value and size for years to come,” she added.

According to the Korea Rural Economic Institute, the value of Korea’s pet market — which was worth 1.9 trillion won in 2015 — is forecast to reach 4.5 trillion won this year and reach 6 trillion won by 2027.

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