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    Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry, shares her insights and opinions on all things petfood, addressing market trends as well as news and developments in pet nutrition, food safety and other hot topics for the industry.

    Global pet care market, including petfood, continues to grow

    Oct 24, 2012 By Debbie Phillips-Donaldson

    The global pet care market will reach US$94 billion in sales by the end of this year and continue to grow through at least 2017. That's according to Euromonitor International's latest report, "Pet Care Forecast Revisit 2012: How Resilient is the Global Market?"

     

    That's a lot of words to describe one report, but the answer to the question the title raises is, the market is pretty resilient. That's due to continuing humanization of pets as well as the strength of emerging markets. The reason the answer isn't "very resilient" is because mounting socioeconomic challenges and renewed economic uncertainty in many parts of the world have caused Euromonitor to downgrade its projections from previous forecasts.

     

    I was able to glean more of Euromonitor's data and insights when Paula Flores, global head of pet care research, spoke at the International Pet Industry Summit, held October 11 in Shanghai, China, as part of Pet Fair Asia. (Petfood Forum China followed on October 12, also co-located with Pet Fair Asia.) Specific to our industry, she estimated global sales of dog and cat food would reach about US$67 billion this year, a 2.5% increase over 2011.

     

    While that is not huge growth, Flores said it's still considered good considering how hard other industries have been hit and that sales grew only about 1% in 2011. (That percentage conflicts with earlier 2010 to 2011 growth figures from Euromonitor, meaning it adjusted its 2011 sales numbers once all the data were available. And that adjustment further reflects the continuing challenges and fluctuations in the global economy.)

     

    The gist of Flores' presentation -- and this is consistent with reports from Euromonitor and many other research firms for several years now -- is that the growth in the global petfood market is being driven mainly by robust growth in emerging markets; developed petfood markets have shown very small increases, if at all, in sales.

     

    Breaking down dog and cat food sales by region, Flores said:

    • Dog and cat food sales in North America are projected to grow about only 1%, with dog food sales reaching nearly US$14 billion (driven by premium product sales) and cat food sales hitting almost US$9.5 billion.
    • In Western Europe as a region, dog and cat food sales will increase less than 1%. However, Flores emphasized, this region is comprised of "markets moving at different speeds." As with their economies overall, Greece and Spain show negative petfood growth, with reports of people giving up their pets; while some markets, such as the Netherlands, may enjoy up to 2% growth (the highest for the region).
    • Latin America continues as a bright spot in the global petfood picture, as does Eastern Europe, both with robust growth. Unfortunately, I was unable to capture the specific regional data from Flores' presentation, but I did note that Brazil, as the fastest-growing pet market globally, is projected to rise to US$7 billion in overall pet care sales this year and have the largest number of small dogs by 2017.
    • Asia Pacific dog and cat food sales will be flat this year compared to 2012, mainly due to Japan being the largest market in that region and still recovering from the 2011 tsunami and earthquake there. But China is a rising star -- the fourth fastest-growing market globally, in fact -- even though petfood sales are not as high yet as those for other pet products (an anomaly compared to the rest of the world).
     

    It will be interesting to see final 2012 petfood and pet care sales from Euromonitor (and others) after we reach the new year and whether that 2.5% global growth number for dog and cat food holds true. 

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