The country's pet product industry has witnessed vigorous growth, with online buying playing a vital role in bolstering sales, according to recent reports.
Growth has been bolstered by the tech-savvy younger generation's preference for buying high-end, imported pet food and other products such as grooming and medical care products and services through e-commerce platforms.
According to a report by e-commerce giant JD and global data analytics company Nielsen, the groups of consumers born after 1985 and after 1990 represent a 40.3 percent share of online pet care purchases, and those pet owners are willing to pay more for premium, imported products seen as nutritious and safe.
The report noted that single people and women make up the majority of online purchases of pet products, especially as marriage and childbirth rates decline.
The top five cities for online spending on pet products are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen, the report said.
Pet food sales — the largest segment in the overall pet industry — increased from 28 billion yuan ($4 billion) in 2015 to 59.4 billion yuan in 2018.
The report also said that unmarried people are the biggest online buyers of dog and cat food and related services, while the majority of owners of aquatic animals and exotic pets, such as birds, mice and rabbits, are married.
JD reported that high-end and high-tech pet products were very popular during the most recent Singles Day shopping event.
Sales revenue for insect repellents for pets surged 243 percent year-on-year, and sales of litter boxes for cats increased 232 percent.
Zhang Qiang, a partner at Roland Berger China, said having pets has become increasingly popular, especially among empty nesters and single people, groups that also are big buyers of high-end pet products and services.
"Buying online has become a major channel for Chinese pet owners, due to its wide range of pet products, quality guarantees, convenience and precise digital marketing strategy," Zhang added.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China has become the third-largest pet market after the United States and Japan.
The market for China's pet industry skyrocketed to 172.2 billion yuan in 2018 from the 49.4 billion yuan spent in 2013, according to a report market research firm Frost & Sullivan released this year.
Industry experts said they expect China's pet industry will further develop along with the growing number of pets and the increasing buying power of pet owners. China's pet product market is forecast to reach 472.3 billion yuan by 2023.
Zhang said the market for pet goods and services is expected to sustain an annual compound growth rate of about 15 percent by 2023, while competition between domestic and foreign pet brands is expected to grow in intensity in the next few years.
Neil Wang, president of Frost & Sullivan China, said, along with rising disposable incomes and consumption upgrades, residents are increasing their spending on leisure and entertainment purchases, which include products and services needed for raising pets. Wang said veterinary services also are expected to grow quickly and offer enormous development opportunities.