Pet care in emerging markets is booming as pet ownership rises among the middle class, an article in the Economist says. Specifically, Latin America’s spending on petfood and pet products increased 44% in the last five years to US$11 billion, according to Euromonitor.
The market research firm estimated that Chile has more pet dogs per person than in any other country. Rising incomes allow Latinos to treat dogs as members of the family because more of these young people are living alone, opting for pets as company and delaying marriage. These pet owners treat their animals as children, according to Euromonitor’s Emily Woon, who said that Latin America has become the “star market” in recent years. Despite their higher cost, Latinos choose dogs more often than cats, evident in the fact that dog food outsells cat food by almost six to one in this market.
However, there is room for further expansion in Latin America’s pet care market, as nearly three-quarters of Mexican dogs eat leftovers from burritos, the article says. Advertising campaigns like park billboards in Mexico City urge pet owners to switch to name-brand, packaged petfoods instead. The article also says that pet superstores make up more than one-fifth of pet product sales in America and Canada, but are seldom found in Latin America. The most popular stores in Latin America are still the small, independent pet shops, which retain customers by offering credit.