Parrots are a popular pet in the country. (Photo: China Daily)
Sales of new favorites rise
Aquatic species, reptiles, rodents and birds have become the new favorite pets in Chinese homes.
Among them, turtles are favored by a growing number of people due to their small size, ease of breeding and reasonable price. Birds, rabbits, flying squirrels and chinchillas are also becoming popular.
Sales of niche pet products have also seen a significant rise.
Online sales of insect-related products have increased by more than 200 percent year-on-year and online sales of items for hamsters, reptiles and rabbits have risen by nearly 100 percent.
Digital marketplace grows
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the pet economy into the digital world. In February, the number of live broadcasts of pets on Taobao, the country's biggest e-commerce platform, soared by 375 percent year-on-year, with more than 1 million viewers every day.
The previous offerings of animated images and short videos were upgraded to 24-hour livestreaming with interaction to allow audiences to fully enjoy the pets through the screen.
The pandemic has also triggered owners' willingness to splurge on their pets. Lockdowns have made them feel that they owe their pets and they want to compensate them by splurging online.
Data show that in the first quarter, orders placed on Taobao, including pet bathing, grooming products and spas, rose by 348 percent from last year. Orders for pet vaccines rose by 240 percent, purchases of pet health products increased fourfold year-on-year, while pet shampoo and shower gel rose more than 60 times.