While several consumer markets during Covid-19 pandemic recorded a slump, the healthcare crisis triggered a fast-paced growth for pet care industry in India.
Ranging from pet care, food products and pet health insurance, the industry is scaling up fast.
According to industry experts, pet care services and pet care products market in India is about $1.2 billion with 60% along coming from products alone. In the industry, pet food, pet treats and pet services are seeing a good growth. According to Indian insurance aggregator and multinational financial technology company PolicyBazaar.com, the Indian pet insurance market also has recently witnessed an uptick in the insurance market. “In fact, India is one of the fastest-growing pet care markets in the world. It is expected to grow at 14% a year to reach $490 million (Rs 3,618 crore) by the end of the year 2022,” Tarun Mathur , Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer at PolicyBazaar.com said.
“The reason behind pet care segment growth is coupled with higher disposable income, nuclear families, changing attitudes toward pets and pet owners, an increase in awareness about pet health, etc. which collectively drives more people to look for comprehensive pet insurance covers,” he said.
There are several insurance companies that offer insurance policies for pets in India. Policybazaar has listed a few companies providing pet insurance such as Oriental Insurance Company Limited, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited, The New India Assurance Company Limited, Go Digit General Insurance Limited, Future Generali, etc.
“As per Policybazaar’s recent survey, it was observed that as many as 70% of the pet owners considered buying a policy, however, only 10% of them actually bought one. With growing awareness about such product offerings, the growing pet populace, rising vet care costs, and increasing humanization of pets would incline more insurers to tap this potential segment and experience their business boom,” said Mathur.
Few start-ups are offering easy ways of bearing hefty expenditure on pet health when needed. QubeHealth, a fintech-cum-healthtech company is offering a product based on the no cost EMI concept named ‘healthcare now and pay later’ from. The company offers payment products through which an employee offers the option through his/her employer can swipe the card for medical bills for their pets along with their own health costs and convert it into no-cost EMIs of up to 24 months.
“There is clearly a need for health insurance and medical loan products to address this need. Pet parents would certainly pay the necessary health insurance premiums that cover advanced care (cancer etc.) procedures that develop in the later years of the pet, while medical lending programs can cover other routine expenses. This is a massive industry that is growing fast, with a clear opportunity for disruptors,” Chris George, CEO & Co-founder of QubeHealth.
“Data not available as there is no consensus on actual number of pets in India. However, we can estimate that in tier 1 markets, this may be roughly around Rs 10,000 per year. The pet care market has been growing at about 28% CAGR for over a decade that is expected to cross $5 billion in the coming few years. This is considered a recession proof industry. We have also seen a large growth rate in new pet adoption rate due to Covid-19,” said George.
Especially after the covid-19 pandemic, there has been a trend of adopting pets as majority of people started working from home. “The increase in pet owners saw a significant surge, especially during the pandemic. A number of people filled their void by adopting a pet. This trend saw a rise in demand not only from metros but also from tier II and III cities during and after the pandemic,” said Mathur.
According to industry reports the number of new insurance customers has skyrocketed after the pandemic. As per a report from Consumer intelligence research, over 10% more pet insurance products were available in the market than after the lockdown. The pet market in India is currently concentrated in Tier 2 and 3 cities.
“The pandemic brought fresh attention to pet health care. We have seen even pet parents in Tier 2 and 3 consider the health needs of their pets through increased veterinary teleconsultations. In fact, 40% of our veterinary tele-consultations are for pets in Tier 3 towns. Pet products like food and treats are increasingly seeing differentiated health focused variants,” said Siddharth Darbha, Co-founder, Wagr, a Super-App for Pet Care.