Prepare for a Seismic Shift in the Pet Industry
One of the most striking changes the pet industry has seen in the past 30 years
is the growing strength of small-and medium-sized manufacturers. Hans-Jochen Bungener, chairman of the exhibition committee
that oversees Germany’s huge
Interzoo trade show, reflected on
this change at the expo in Nuremberg in May.
“Some of the major interna-
tional manufacturers are absent
from this year’s Interzoo,” Bunge-
ner said. “This has happened re-
peatedly in individual cases in the
last few years. Now, this appears
to reflect a real market change.
The numbers make clear that—at
least in Germany—the brands of
small- and medium-sized enter-
prises are making strong inroads
into pet stores and fighting for
shelf space and sales.
“The owner of a long-estab-
lished medium-sized enterprise
said to me: ‘Mr. Bungener, In-
terzoo is reflecting the victory
of small- and medium-sized
“Smaller companies have re-
peatedly proved to be innovators
and quick movers that are shak-
ing up the market—particularly
in our industry.
“Also, Asian manufacturers always have been known as
private-label suppliers to West-ern-brand manufacturers and
importers, but a different trend is
beginning to emerge.
“The big Asian manufacturers are beginning to present their
own brands to compete against
the international suppliers in their
own fast-growing home markets.
This trend is most apparent in
China. The Chinese market today
is worth only $1.9 billion; however, awareness that dogs are good
for people and play a valuable so-cio-ethical role is growing.
“The larger Chinese manufacturers are turning their interest to
the domestic market where they
are increasingly offering their
“According to price observa-
tions in pet stores, Chinese cus-
tomers are willing to pay double
the price for domestic goods that
meet Western quality standards.
In pet stores in Shanghai and Bei-
jing, I saw that a 1.5 kilogram bag
of domestic product was offered
for the same price as a 3 kilogram
of known international brands.
“Asian brand-name manufacturers are beginning to launch
their own subsidiaries in Europe
as opposed to just trading companies. Sooner or later the former
suppliers will emerge as equal
“Asia is on the march; tomor-
row, perhaps South America. Pet
ownership is on the rise around
the world. It’s only to be expect-
ed that industries in countries
with developing markets are
growing and building self-confi-
dence as their quality awareness
Interzoo—the biennial show
held in Germany every spring—
had more than 180 exhibitors this
year. Much of the growth came
from companies outside Germa-
ny. There were gains in numbers
from Italy, Czech Republic, Tur-
key, Brazil, China, Taiwan, South
Korea, Thailand and New Zea-
land. There also were more ex-
hibitors from the U.S., France and
Hungary than in previous years.
of the Interzoo