A new wave of lockdowns due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in key Asian cities doesn't appear to rattle pet-related businesses the way it did in 2020 when the highly contagious virus first reared its ugly head.
Whether it's a case of businesses becoming jaded or more prepared to face related challenges, the devastating business pains caused by earlier community quarantines at the very least have taught entrepreneurs how to better cope when lockdowns happen again.
Asia’s responses to lockdowns
In the Philippines, the government extended its partial coronavirus regulations in the capital, Manila, from August 2020 until the end of January 2021 to prevent post-holiday transmissions of COVID-19. But non-leisure businesses that provide the public with daily essentials, including pet shops, pet food and pet care supplies, are allowed to remain open. Major malls also signaled a return to a cautious new normal by successively opening pet parks inside their buildings in the last months of 2020 to give quarantine-weary pets and their owners a more controlled, safe place to wander around.
A less anxious public, the prospect of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, more pragmatic government restrictions and businesses' newfound flexibility to reset when necessary are helping to cushion the economic disruptions from the new lockdowns. So, even when January 2021 saw emergency declarations of new COVID-19 measures in Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong, these Asian economies now know better to assure the public about food security, keep indispensable businesses open and push for e-commerce more.
E-commerce growth in the wake of COVID-19
The pet food industry's big flirt with online shopping is expected to continue in 2021 not just in Asia but around the world, as the pandemic continues to push consumers to embrace it and appreciate the conveniences that store-to-door deliveries offer.
As online becomes the new norm of shopping for pet food and whatnots, market players will be well served to make new investments in cold storage for raw pet food and ready-to-serve pet meals. They should also look into better pet food packaging that can handle the rigors of shipping. Pet food makers could also stand to benefit if they heed a Nielsen research study that shows consumers prioritizing the health and value needs of their family members, which includes their pets.