Ashish Anthony
Guest Article

Prioritising omnichannel experience will accelerate pet care growth in India

Our guest columnist states the factors that are accelerating the growth of pet care industry in the country.

Increased pet adoption across India, has led industry watchers to peg the country’s budding pet population at over 32 million, as per an industry report by Market Decipher. A major factor behind the growing number of pets in the family, is the increased need for companionship that rose out of the COVID pandemic.

More and more people turned towards furry companions to help them tide over loneliness and mental health concerns. This, along with rising disposable income, the adoption of nuclear families and the humanisation of pets, has led to a community of pet parents that doesn’t shy away from spoiling their fur babies and only wants the best for them.

The consumer mindset is changing, and pet owners today treat their pets just like their children. As a result, there has been a rapid growth in the pet care industry, which has been agile in responding to the demand for quality pet care products and services.

The pet care industry in India is presently valued at around Rs 74,000 crore, and has a CAGR growth rate of 19.2%. This will only rise, as the industry experiences even greater acceleration on the back of developing formats like e-commerce.

E-commerce has created a growth trajectory for almost every entity in the market. From luxe brands to local crafts, the Internet boom has been a bane for both consumers and businesses.

The Indian e-commerce market has experienced accelerated growth due to increased online shopping during the pandemic and, according to a FICCI report, it is expected to reach $120 billion in 2026. The integration of e-commerce in the pet care industry has not only advanced market growth, but also created an affordable and accessible path to pet care.

The several advantages of e-commerce in the pet care space, have made it the preferred marketplace for the younger generation of pet parents. They are increasingly turning to the Internet for pet products and services, which is significantly boosting the sector.

Online shopping falls within the comfort zone for pet parents, given its ease and convenience. While visiting a store is a unique experience, for millennials who are hard-pressed for time, it can be a difficult option. On the other hand, shopping online is easier and allows products to be delivered straight to your door.

Moreover, owing to the increase in smartphone usage, mobile commerce sales in India will account for 10% of total retail sales by 2025. Mobile shopping offers hassle-free pet care services and products that can be accessed from the comfort of your home. This, added to the fast pace of life experienced by most people, makes e-commerce a one-stop solution for all pet parents. The ease of shopping online is also a driver of sales, as it is a quick solution to fulfilling everyday needs.

E-commerce offers pet care retailers opportunities to implement innovative strategies to gain a competitive edge. With online shopping, brands can provide a personalised and seamless shopping experience, along with educational pet content. Moreover, competitive pricing, a wider inventory, and product details and reviews offered by online retailers, are driving sales at a never seen rate.

Additionally, brands have created a reliable online marketplace with a D2C business model that has allowed penetration into Tier-II and III cities, thus expanding the customer base, while creating accessibility in the pet care industry. People living in the farthest corners of the country can now avail the benefits of pet care products and services, without worrying about the availability of resources.

The boom in e-commerce also has the potential to drive discoverability and recognition for national, international and homegrown brands to reach out to new customers, who may not yet be familiar with them.

As the pet care ecosystem continues to change and adapt to evolving consumer behaviour, brands will need to keep up to stay relevant. This category has a huge room for growth and a thriving environment both offline and online.

While the charm of offline stores will continue to propel the growth of physical establishments, the online marketplace will experience a rapid expansion due to its convenience and current relevance, each fuelling the others growth. A synergy between both is required to have a balanced growth that benefits both consumers and brands.

(The author, Ashish Anthony, is founder, JUSTDOGS)

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