The Booming Pet Industry in India

He is decked up in designer wear and trendy accessories. He enjoys lavish lunch with his family on the dining table, happily waging his tail. He gets pampered in exotic spas and salons. On weekends, he hangs out with his barking buddies in special canine cafes. If you are wondering whether I am talking about our beloved Beethoven or the fictional Scooby doo, think again. This is the kind of luxurious lifestyle our real life Scoobies and Tommies get to live these days. In India pets are getting pampered and petted like never before. And their owners are more than happy about this, even if it sometimes causes a dent in their wallet.

Pets have always been a craze in US and UK. But this trend has started recently in India. According to a research conducted by Research and Consultancy Enterprise (RACE) of Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad there are about 2.2 million dogs in the Indian household with the population increasing by 26% every year. What could be the reason behind this increasing popularity of pets? With rapid urbanization of the cities there are a number of single professionals and single parents living alone in huge cities. We also find old couples living alone, away from their children who have settled abroad. Be it the need of security or a desire of companionship, these people are commonly found owning pets. Pets seem like perfect companions providing unconditional love and not expecting anything in return. Pets are also considered as fashion accessories in celebrity culture. A leading newspaper daily reports that 70% of the Hindi film industry is known to own at least one dog. Bollywood actors like Vivek Oberoi, Bipasha Basu, Salman  Khan, John Abraham and several others dote on their pets. These high profile celebrities do not mind splurging on their pets. The life of their pet is as glamorous as theirs.

“The pet industry in India has an estimated revenue earning potential of Rs. 350 crore . Out of this around 250 crore is contributed by pet foods and the remaining 100 crore comes from grooming and healthcare sector. The industry is growing rapidly in India” says Mr. O.P Singh, CEO of a pet food supplier company called Venky’s India.

There are myriad options for business in the pet industry. The options just keep growing  day by day as people come up with new ideas and ways to shower love on their pets. Given below are some of the areas of businesses where the pet industry is expanding currently –

Pet products:

The domestic product market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10-15% according to Euromonitor, a global market research firm. “India is predicted to supply the world with the bulk of pet-related products in the coming years” says Binoy Sahee, the Director of India International Pet Trade Fair (IIPTF) that organizes pet fairs regularly. Pet food is the fastest growing segment when it comes to pet products. Dogs get to choose from a variety of branded food and snacks these days. Venky’s India sells four different varieties of dog meals while Mars Food sells special rice and cottage cheese dishes for vegetarian dogs. A month’s supply of branded food can cost up to Rs 500. If your dog loves only home food then not to worry. We have “Dog Dabbawala” service in Mumbai that supplies nutritious home cooked food at the cost of Rs 120/meal with door to door supply. The Milestone Resort of Delhi has even launched a unique restaurant for dogs called Bow Wow club.

Pet Salons:

A research conducted by Dare magazine says that the total market size of  the pet grooming industry was 132 crore in 2007 and is expected to grow to 299 crore by 2010. At present there are four major pet salon in India – Scooby scrub in Delhi, Tailwaggers and TopDog in Mumbai and Fuzzy Wuzzy in Bangalore. Pet salons can be started with a low investment of  3-5 lakhs that includes the cost of training, shop rent, equipments and products. The entrepreneurs who have started pet salons feel that one doesn’t even have to be from a business background. “A formal training is not as important as love for animals “says Yashodhara Hemachandra of  Fuzzy Wuzzy Salon. Pet salons provide services like hair cuts, nail trimming, tick and flea treatments, oil massages and some fancy services like party dressing and hair coloring.

Pet Counselors:

For those whose pets are extremely notorious and nervous, we have canine behavior therapists.  Shirin Merchant, a canine behavior therapist based in Mumbai counsels around 100 dog owners per month at Rs. 1000 per session. We also have some ‘ Dog Yoga’ called ‘Doga’ service centers available these days.

Pet Magazines:

Pet owners are always on a lookout for good quality information on pet care and pet health. These needs are fulfilled by pet magazines like “Woof” and “Dogs and pups”.

Pets that are well taken care of are more likely to be healthy and happy. A happy pet keeps his owner happy. Everything that comes for free is priceless. The emotional value of a pet, the unconditional love they provide us is priceless yet precious and no amount of money can replace that. I feel pets truly deserve to be pampered like a prince or princess. The growth of pet industry is also providing large number of job opportunities apart from contributing to the country’s revenue. What more can we ask for? They say “Every dog has his day”. But for dogs these days everyday is a dream day.

Swati R

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