“Pawsitive" outlook for Hong Kong pet-friendly retail market

The trend towards pet-friendly shopping presents opportunities for businesses to capitalise on this emerging market segment.

January 30, 2024

Amidst the bustling streets of Hong Kong, may be you have noticed the growing number of pet-related establishments? Hong Kong has witnessed a rise in the pet-friendly trend in recent years. Pets are not only considered companions but also cherished family members. According to Statista, the pet population in Hong Kong (including dogs, cats, smaller mammals, as well as birds, fish and reptiles) increased by 50,000 to 1.19 million between 2018 and 2023.

Moreover, Hong Kong recorded the highest per capita spending on pet care in the Asia Pacific region in 2021, according to Euromonitor. These numbers underline the thriving “Pet Economy”, where the bond between humans and animals has brought market opportunities. Both the government and shopping malls have embraced the trend by implementing pet-friendly policies and facilities, while pet-related stores have expanded their presence in the market.

Recognising the importance of pets in contemporary society, shopping centre landlords in Hong Kong have taken steps to cater to the growing number of pet owners. With the provision of bespoke pet-friendly amenities and services, more malls are allowing pets to accompany their owners throughout the entire premises instead of some designated pet areas. Some also provide amenities and services specially designed for pets and their owners, like water stations, pet toilets and pet-friendly elevators. These offerings enable pet owners to enjoy their shopping experience while keeping their furry pals by their side.

Notably, The Wai, a newly opened mall in Tai Wai, offers various specialised facilities. Moreover, the mall's outdoor green areas serve as a perfect oasis for pets to unwind with their owners and create memorable moments.

Besides, some landlords take the lead to organise pet-friendly activities to lure pet lovers. They also collaborate with local animal welfare groups to hold charity events. For instance, Link REIT launched the “Play Eat Tai Yuen Pawty” campaign in its Tai Yuen Commercial Centre in Tai Po in May 2023. The campaign featured diverse pet-themed weekend events and partnered with charities to establish pet supply recycling stations and promote pet adoption.

The pet-friendly trend presents business opportunities for retailers and service providers. From pet-friendly cafes and boutiques to specialised grooming salons and pet-tech start-ups, the pet-friendly retail environment in Hong Kong is flourishing. Pet owners' willingness to spend more on their pets has boosted the demand for premium pet food, healthcare services, and related products. For example, Ruff & Fetch, a pet supply store, has expanded its commercial footprint in newly opened shopping centres, such as Airside in Kai Tak and The Wai in Tai Wai. We anticipate more expansion of pet-related stores in the near future.

Looking ahead, the foreseeable sustainability of the pet-friendly retail market is poised to present more opportunities for related businesses. To stand out in the market, landlords and retailers shall grasp the opportunity to provide more innovative and immersive experiences for both pets and pet owners. By understanding the evolving needs of pet owners, they can work hand in hand to deliver extraordinary experiences and celebrate the remarkable bond between humans and their pets, cultivating a more inclusive and healthy retail environment.