The Japanese pet care market is undergoing significant transformation as a result of the demographic and social changes occurring in the country. Increasingly hectic consumer lifestyles, underpinned by factors such as an increase in single-person households and rising numbers of women entering paid employment, and the limited space available in the typical Japanese home are contributing to a shift in the pet population.
With a shrinking consumer base and with demographic and social changes having a constraining effect on key areas of pet care, manufacturers are increasingly focusing on generating value through premium-orientated innovation. In doing so, they are being aided by the pet humanisation trend, which is transferring significant elements of demand in human products to pet care, including the influence of rising health-consciousness and the growing interest in natural products.
Domestic player, Unicharm, retains the lead in overall pet care in Japan, and is well-placed to benefit from evolving conditions in the market. While it faces strong competition from a number of multinational rivals, Unicharm’s leading position in cat food and its strength in the premium segment provide a sound platform for targeting prevailing demand trends.
While home improvement and gardening stores remained the largest distribution channel for pet care in 2019, it continued to lose share as a result of shifting demand patterns. The decline in the population of large/medium-sized dogs is leading to a move away from demand for the large-volume packages of dog food typically sold by home improvement and gardening stores.
The ongoing increase in the cat population is set to be a key driver of the expansion of overall pet care over 2019-2024, with cat food categories expected to dominate growth. Continued premiumisation, underpinned by the pet humanisation trend, will also be a significant factor in driving growth.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Pet Care market research database.