Philippines’ Burgeoning Pet Culture is Shifting Lifestyles—and it’s Creating ‘Paw-Some’ Opportunities 

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Philippines’ Burgeoning Pet Culture is Shifting Lifestyles—and it’s Creating ‘Paw-Some’ Opportunities 

Philippines pet culture

 

Trexy, an adorable golden retriever, recently captured people’s hearts as videos of him joyfully playing with neighborhood kids in a town in the Philippines went viral on TikTok and sparked media interest. The heartwarming scenes reminded many of not just the nostalgic memories of a carefree childhood but of the pure affection between pets and humans. 

This is just a glimpse into a growing trend known as pet humanization, where pets are no longer viewed as mere animals but rather cherished companions or even integral members of the family. This shift is not only reshaping attitudes towards pet ownership but also fueling growth in the pet industry worldwide. In the Philippines, the evident shift in pet parenting culture and lifestyle choices presents unique opportunities for brands to connect with pet owners on a deeper level.

Changing human-pet dynamics is driving pet industry growth 

During the pandemic in 2021, people sought companionship while confined to their homes, leading many to turn to pets for solace and emotional support. There was a noticeable surge in the demand for pet adoption in the Philippines, as indicated by Google search volume data obtained by Vero’s Data and Insights team. In 2021, this trend grew significantly, with a year-on-year growth rate of 30%. Subsequently, in 2022 and 2023, the trend recorded a stable growth rate of 5% annually and reached its peak in 2023 with over 7.7 million total searches. 

This is further substantiated by recent findings from the Social Weather Station, which reported that 64% of Filipino households now have pets, with dogs (78 %) and cats (50%) considered the most popular. 

This rise in pet ownership has fueled substantial growth in the pet industry in the Philippines, with a promising outlook. According to Mordor Intelligence, the pet food market alone is projected to expand from an estimated P16 billion (USD292.20 million) in 2024 to P37 billion (USD681.32 million) by 2029, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 18.45%, compared to 16% from 2017 to 2023. 

While the pandemic undoubtedly highlighted the pet culture in the Philippines, momentum was already building even before then. For instance, a 2014 study predicted that although Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia dominated 80% of the pet care market in Southeast Asia, the Philippines was poised to emerge as the most dynamic market by 2020, growing at 8.4% annually. Additionally, a survey by Rakuten Insight revealed that the Philippines already boasted the highest pet ownership rate in Asia in 2018 at 83%. 

This trend has also prompted businesses outside the pet industry to increasingly adopt a pet-friendly approach. Over the past decade, a noticeable shift has occurred across malls, resorts, hotels, and various public venues, where policies have evolved to accommodate the rising presence of pets accompanying their owners. These establishments have tailored their offerings to include amenities and services designed specifically for fur babies. From the introduction of dedicated pet parks and pet-friendly dining options to the emergence of specialized pet stores, businesses are actively enhancing their appeal to pet-owning clientele. 



 

Filipinos are taking pet parenting seriously 

Survey by Vero Philippines

Vero conducted an informal survey in March to delve into the nuances and rising appeal of pet culture in the Philippines.

We found that 83% of the respondents consider their pet as their “child” or “baby”, while another 8% think of pets as their “sibling.” 

In addition, 64% say they want a pet mainly for companionship, while more than 55% say they feel a sense of responsibility to look after animals. 

As pets become an integral part of the family, their owners also invest in their health and welfare. 48% of the respondents spend between P1,000 and P5,000 monthly on their pets, with some spending as much as P15,000. 

82% of the respondents rated food quality and dietary needs as the most important pet budget priorities, followed by veterinary care and grooming. While pet insurance and training classes aren’t quite common among household pets, respondents still rated them as part of their top six priorities, along with accessories and toys. 

These findings reflect the dual nature of pet ownership, perceived by respondents as both a necessity and a luxury (49%). Pets “bring love and priceless joy” but also demand special attention and care. For the pet owners in the survey, pet parenting entails responsibility and the willingness to allocate additional resources. 

It is also notable, albeit subject to debate that there is a growing inclination towards pet adoption over having children in the Philippines and globally. A Forbes article mentioned the changing family structures as “people choose to become pet parents, taking on a parental role and factoring their pets into major decisions about their career, housing choices, and romantic relationships.” 

 

‘Paw-some’ opportunities for brands 

The shifting dynamics of pet parenting culture offer significant insights for brands, marketers, and communicators in the Philippines. This evolving trend underscores the importance of catering to pet owners and their furry companions, and highlighting this unique relationship is key to connecting with this growing demographic. 

Pet-friendly businesses and brands are frequently lauded for their dedication to pet welfare and inclusivity, fostering a positive perception among customers. This portrayal positions the brand as caring, empathetic, and socially responsible, resonating positively with both customers and the broader community. 

  • Given the profound role pets play in people’s lives, pet parents make careful choices regarding their pets’ nutrition, health, and welfare. They opt for high-quality products and services, even if it sometimes means stretching their budgets. Brands should effectively communicate the advantages of their offerings for pets’ overall well-being. It is not surprising to see pet parents investing in products to ensure the happiness and health of their beloved fur babies. 
  • A sense of community enriches the pet ownership experience. Brands can foster this by creating or engaging in online forums and social media groups. They can also consider hosting physical events that allow pet owners to connect, share experiences, and learn from each other. 
  • Much like thematic advertisements in the Philippines, brands can highlight the deep emotional bond between pets and their owners. Storytelling can be a powerful means to show pets as integral family members, focusing on the joy, companionship, and love they bring into people’s lives. 
  • Beyond selling products, brands can consider offering value that enhances the pet parenting experience. This could include free pet care advice, training tips, or access to exclusive pet-related events, providing added value that can differentiate the brand and foster loyalty. 

 

At Vero, we are always intrigued by emerging trends in the region, such as the “budol” culture in the Philippines, Thailand’s soft power strategy, and the live selling phenomenon in Indonesia. Curious to learn how your brand can leverage the latest trends in the Philippines to achieve your business goals? Reach out to our team in the Philippines at manila@vero-asean.com to learn more. 

 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Charmaine de Lazo is a writer, editor, and journalist with 12 years of experience working in newsrooms and crafting narratives for brands. Today, she’s helping to tell new and meaningful stories across Asia as Regional Editor at Vero. 

RESEARCH AND INSIGHTS 

Kim Donato  |  Carla Moreno  |  Nicole Briones   |   Paulus Soriano   |   Vero’s Data and Insights Team 

VISUALS 

Gella Gesultura 

 

 

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