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India's thriving pet care sector: The ideal ground for a unicorn

India is home to 111 unicorns, valued at a whopping over $365 billion. It has emerged as the third-largest global startup ecosystem, with over 112,718 startups across 763 districts (DPIIT, October 2023). The thriving startup economy reflects the entrepreneurial spirit in India, and one particular sector quietly gaining momentum and ready for its own success story is the pet care industry.

In India, the pet industry is on the cusp of a significant transformation. According to a report by the Indian Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (IPICA), the sector is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% over the next five years.

The industry is currently estimated to be worth around $1 billion, and by 2025, it is expected to reach a staggering $2.5 billion. India is poised to witness a pet care unicorn, given the rapid growth in pet ownership and changing trends.

Drivers of growth

Several factors are fueling the impressive growth of the pet industry in India, making it a fertile ground for a pet care unicorn.

Rising pet ownership

India is witnessing an unprecedented surge in pet ownership. According to a survey by Euromonitor International, the pet population in India is estimated to be around 19 million, and it’s projected to grow at a CAGR of 9% over the next five years.

Moreover, the number of pet owners in India has increased from 20 million in 2015 to 30 million in 2023. With more individuals and families welcoming pets into their lives, the demand for pet products and services is skyrocketing.

Changing lifestyles

As more people move towards nuclear families and urban living, having pets as companions is gaining popularity. Pets are now considered an integral part of many households, driving the demand for various pet-related products and services.

Growing middle class and its increased disposable income

The rising disposable income of Indians is another significant driver. As individuals and families have more financial resources, they are willing to invest in the well-being and comfort of their pets, leading to a surge in demand for premium pet products and services.

Increasing pet humanisation

Pets are increasingly being seen as members of the family, and pet owners are willing to spend more on their pets’ care and well-being.

Pet care

Segments of the pet industry

The pet industry in India is multifaceted, comprising various segments that present ample opportunities for startups to create a unicorn in the pet care space

Pet food

Pet food accounts for about 70% of the total market share in the Indian pet industry and over 40% globally. There’s a growing demand for premium and customised pet food products tailored to a pet’s specific dietary requirements, age, and health conditions. The Indian pet food market is expected to reach nearly $1 billion by 2025, as per Euromonitor International.

Pet products

This segment contributes around 20% to the market share and includes collars, leashes, beds, toys, and grooming products. The demand for high-quality and personalised pet accessories is on the rise, reflecting the changing lifestyle of pet owners. The Indian pet products market is expected to reach $0.5 billion by 2025 (Euromonitor International).

Pet services

The Indian pet services market, which encompasses grooming, pet-sitting and walking, and veterinary care, is expected to reach $0.5 billion by 2025 (Euromonitor International). The segment is witnessing remarkable growth, and as the number of pet owners increases, the demand for professional pet care services is also soaring.

Pet care industry global landscape

The global pet care industry is a massive and growing market, valued at $246.66 billion in 2023. The industry is expected to reach $368.88 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.92%.

North America leads the global pet care market, with Europe and Asia Pacific following suit. North America’s growth is attributed to many pet owners and increased veterinary health awareness. Europe is also on a moderate growth trajectory, driven by pet humanisation and rising disposable incomes. In contrast, the Asia Pacific region is set to be the fastest-growing market, thanks to its expanding middle class and urbanisation.

Bibhu Mishra works with The Global Education and Leadership Foundation.

Edited by Suman Singh

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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