Falling demand for dog food undermines pet care’s performance
Retail volume and current value sales of pet food declined in 2013. This was mainly due to the falling demand for dog food as Japan’s pet dog population continued to shrink. However, the fall in retail volume and current value sales was slower than in 2012, mainly thanks to the growth of cat food sales. Retail volume sales of cat food rose faster in 2013 amid growing urbanisation. Meanwhile, “other” pet food and pet products continued to see sales declines. Japanese consumers were reluctant to keep fish, for example, due to the potential for further earthquakes.
Growing urbanisation stimulates cat and rabbit ownership
Amid growing urbanisation, more Japanese people live in apartments. This limits the space for pets while some apartment buildings have rigid regulations on pets. Therefore, consumers increasingly preferred keeping smaller pets such as cats and rabbits rather than dogs. As they are better suited to living in small apartments and more independent than dogs, cat ownership continued to increase. Likewise, rabbits, which are increasingly perceived as quiet and suitable pets for urban environments, became more popular. The growing cat and rabbit populations drove the growth in sales of cat food and rabbit food in 2013.
Mars and Unicharm drive the greater segmentation trend
Mars Japan Ltd remained the overall leader in pet care in retail value sales terms in 2013, followed by Unicharm Corp. Mars’s leadership is built on a wide portfolio of dog and cat food, including globally renowned brands like Pedigree and Royal Canin. Likewise, Unicharm offers an extensive dog and cat food portfolio that covers all price segments. These two companies were also at the forefront of the trend towards greater segmentation in dog and cat food during the review period. To offset growing competition from cheaper brands and private label ranges, both companies launched new age-, breed- and size-specific dog and cat food products, as well as new flavour variants. In addition, they were active in developing new functional pet food products.
Internet retailing makes strong gains in pet care distribution
Home and garden specialist retailers remained the most important distribution channel for pet care in Japan in 2013, followed by pet shops and supermarkets. During the review period, however, these and other channels experienced retail value share declines due to the rapid advance of internet retailing. Aside from the strong growth in the number of companies selling pet food and products online, internet retailing’s performance was bolstered by increasing consumer appreciation for the convenience and capacity for easy price comparison afforded by the channel.
Consumption to shift from dog food to cat food
The lifestyles of Japanese consumers are expected to keep changing during the forecast period. More Japanese consumers are likely to live in an urban environment and single-person households are predicted to keep increasing. As their lifestyles change, it is anticipated that more consumers will choose to keep cats rather than dogs. Even dog owners are increasingly likely to prefer smaller breeds. As a result, retail volume sales of dog food is estimated to decline while retail volume sales of cat food are set to grow over the forecast period. Value sales at constant 2014 prices are estimated to grow in both dog food and cat food in the short term, due to the VAT increases planned for 2014 and 2015.
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The Pet Care in Japan market research report includes:
- Analysis of key supply-side and demand trends
- Detailed segmentation of international and local products
- Historic volumes and values, company and brand market shares
- Five year forecasts of market trends and market growth
- Robust and transparent market research methodology, conducted in-country
Our market research reports answer questions such as:
- What is the market size of Pet Care in Japan?
- What are the major brands in Japan?
- How did the downturn affect pet care spending?
- Which is the best-performing category within pet care?
- Which is the fastest-growing pet food manufacturer?
- How have pet specialists fared in recent years?
- What are growth prospects for pet care in the next 5 years?
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- Gain competitive intelligence about market leaders
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Pet Care market research database.