Shanghai Daily

Feeling lonely? When people do, they often acquire pets

- Li Qian

People who live alone often raise a pet for companions­hip. With solo lifestyles increasing among both the young and old, the domestic pet market is thriving, a recent survey found.

The survey by iiMedia Research found that the market for pets has quadrupled in the last few years, soaring from 97.8 billion yuan (US$14.6 billion) in 2015 to 394.2 billion yuan in 2021.

The rising trend is expected to continue, the survey said, with the market value jumping to 493.6 billion yuan by the end of this year and to 811.4 billion yuan in 2025.

The major consumers in this market are young singles and older people whose children have left home.

According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, China’s single population reached 240 million in 2018, meaning that almost one in six people was single, and 77 million were living alone.

The ministry has forecast that the number will grow to 92 million this year, amid declining marriage registrati­ons that hit an all-time low of 7.6 million couples in 2021.

Meanwhile, data showed an estimated 100 million older “emptyneste­rs” in China, encompassi­ng nearly a third of the country’s population of people 60 years and older.

Living alone or feeling lonely is an impetus to get a pet, according to the iiMedia Research survey.

Compared with developed countries, China’s pet industry is still in its infancy. However, its more recent rapid expansion has created new niche markets, such as pet food, the survey found.

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