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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No signs of recession in pet industry

OSAKA - The average amount spent annually on pet-related expenses by households with at least two members rose 4.6% in 2009 from the previous year to 18,323 yen, the highest figure since comparable data become available in 1990, according to a recent government survey.
While family spending as a whole is on the decrease, there are no signs of recession in the pet industry, as high-priced pet food and stylish clothing are selling well, pet cosmetics, insurance and various other services are now available and medical costs for pets are rising as they live longer, according to the survey.
As Japanese society continues to gray with fewer children, and as the number of single-person households expands, more pets are being treated as a child or a spouse, said a researcher commissioned by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
‘‘The market will likely continue to expand with owners regarding their pets as family members and sparing no expense,’’ Shimpei Iwama, a member of the Osaka office of research firm Fuji Keizai Co, said.
The firm estimates the value of the pet market at about 1.2 trillion yen in 2009.
The survey shows that pet-related expenditure, which was a little over 10,000 yen in 1993, exceeded 15,000 yen in 2003. Since 2005, expenses have been growing for five consecutive years.
By generation, people in their 50s spent the most on their pets at 28,951 yen on average in the reporting year, which was about 4.7 times the average of people under 30, showing that the middle-aged and above were the main group supporting the market, having finished raising children.
On the other hand, data on single-person households showed that women aged from 35 to 59 spent the most on their pets at 20,752 yen. Overall, women spent 12,508 yen on average, which was more than four times that of men, the report said.
Pet food makes up one third of the market, with diet food and health conscious ‘‘premium food’’ selling well, according to Fuji Keizai.
Beauty products including shampoos and services such as teeth and ear cleaning are also a big hit as more pets are raised indoors and live in line with their owners’ lifestyles.

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