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[Pet] Market Research in South Korea: Unveiling The Thriving Pet Care Market

Updated: Sep 5, 2023


The world of pet care in South Korea is undergoing a dynamic transformation, driven by shifting consumer preferences, technological advancements, and evolving market dynamics. In this comprehensive blog, we delve into the wealth of insights and exciting trends that are shaping the industry's future.

The Digital Revolution: Online Pet Food Distribution

In a world where convenience and accessibility reign supreme, South Korea stands as a trailblazer in online pet food distribution. The numbers speak volumes: the online distribution channel's share has surged from 50% in 2018 to a staggering 69% in 2023. This explosive growth is attributed, in part, to the catalytic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has accelerated the adoption of e-commerce in the pet care sector. In a global context, South Korea shines brightly as the world leader in online pet food distribution. With a remarkable 69% share, it surpasses other nations by a significant margin. For comparison, the United States trails behind at approximately 30%, Japan hovers around the 20% mark, and even China, despite its e-commerce prowess, lags behind at 63% for dogs and 68% for cats. This surge in online distribution underscores a paradigm shift in consumer behavior, reflecting a society that embraces digital solutions and redefines the shopping experience.

World Leader in online pet care sector 2023
Global Pet Care Sector

Veterinarians: Guardians of Influence in a Changing Landscape

While the distribution rate through veterinary hospitals has witnessed a slight decline from 8.4% in 2018 to 7% this year, the enduring influence of veterinarians remains palpable. Moon Kyung-seon, head of research at Euromonitor Korea, elucidates this phenomenon, stating, "The overall offline market is on the decline, but veterinarians at veterinary hospitals have the influence of recommending products." The power of veterinary recommendations continues to resonate with pet owners, bridging the gap between offline and online purchasing. With a remarkable 21% year-on-year growth, the companion animal prescription food market has surged to KRW 180 billion, showcasing the potential for veterinary practices to carve out a niche in this specialized segment.

The Rise of Specialized Markets: Prescription Foods and Nutritional Supplements

The prescription food market in South Korea has not only demonstrated resilience but has surpassed expectations. With a staggering 21% growth rate, reaching KRW 180 billion in 2022, it outpaces the broader pet food market's growth trajectory. This rise in prescription food consumption is a testament to the growing awareness of pet owners about tailored dietary needs and the role of veterinarians in ensuring the well-being of their furry companions. Furthermore, the nutritional supplement market has emerged as a force to be reckoned with, experiencing a 15% year-on-year growth and achieving a scale of KRW 22.4 billion in 2022.

A Promising Horizon: Forecasting the Future

In the midst of this transformative landscape, the future of South Korea's pet care industry appears promising. With the anticipated rise in senior companion animals and a growing culture of preventive care, the nutritional supplement market is set to flourish further. As the demand for specialized products and services escalates, the influence of veterinarians is poised to amplify, solidifying their role as trusted advisors in pet care decisions. Insights, especially by Euromonitor International's research, offers a roadmap to navigate this ever-evolving terrain, uncovering opportunities and paving the way for businesses and stakeholders to thrive.

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