China’s 59 million feline pets have spawned a “cat economy”, a key sector of the overall pet industry that was worth 134 billion yuan ($20.5 billion) last year, up from 100 billion yuan in 2016.
Besides the conventional cat food, cat fashion, fur care products, cat teaser, pooper scooper, cat funeral, and internment services, the cat economy covers products and industries, such as cat cafes, cloud cat petting that use cats to attract consumers.
In addition, the paid-for digital emojis and stickers of cats and cats videos with product placements, as well as cat micro-blog, are also the category of “cat economy”. With the development of Internet technology, the virtual cat petting game is also getting more and more popular.
Why Chinese people are becoming so crazy about cats
Culture, For more than 2,000 years, Chinese people have expressed their love for cats in classic texts, poems, and paintings. Even some of the emperors loved cats.
China’s empty-nest young form a large part of the growing population obsessed with cats, many of whom, while working in China’s big cities far away from their families, many cope with the loneliness and stress of urban life by raising cats in their apartments. They also contribute to higher disposable income levels in Chinese cities, which has driven growth in pet-related industries.
According to a 2017 report on pet owner consumer trends conducted by JingDong Data Institute, the recent growth of pet-related industries corresponds to China’s rising GDP and can be attributed to consumer habits driven by urbanization, the one-child policy, and an aging population. In 2016, China’s pet product market rose to 120 billion RMB (more than $18 billion USD). The institute identified females and white-collar workers as the largest group of pet owners.
A variety of businesses and services have emerged to cater to the cat craze.
Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao sold nearly 10 billion yuan (S$2.06 billion) of cat-related products in 2017, Xinhua said, citing a report released by Alibaba.
About 17,000 cat-related products are found on the website and some of those include cat food, clothes, and accessories. For example, more than 250,000 cat hair removal gloves were sold on Taobao last year.
Not only the conventional cat products are contributing to the Cat Economy in China, but with the new trends, such as Cloud cat petting, cat cafes and cat videos are also rapidly developing.
Cat cafes are a popular business model that is increasingly common in many Chinese cities. The cafe owner provides a home for several cats, many of which are adopted, and customers get to enjoy their beverages while pampering the felines
According to the Tencent Research Institute, the popularity of cats on the Internet has given rise to a “cat-based economy that will add a new chapter to the content industry” in China. especially young consumers of apps, movies, video games, and other media: “Online, virtual cats are personified in entertaining images that tell stories and resonate with consumers.”
With all these reasons and fact, not just cat-raising will be more popular, but the whole pets-raising will be booming in the coming years.