The figure of the cats has a great cultural weight in the history of JapanIt is only in recent decades that these pets have become one of the most popular animals in the country, earning them a strong contribution to the economy. The research firm Fuji Keizai Co, estimates that the domestic market for pet-related products will grow by 7.9% this year.
Katsuhiro Miyamotoprofessor emeritus at Kansai University, told the newspaper news from japan that the effect of these pets contributed USD 14.6 billion (1.9 trillion yen) to the national economy in 2022. This effect was defined as neconomic.
Cat food, products, “nekocafés”, photo albums and trips to meet these animals were the main activities driven by this economic effect. The academic estimated that their monthly basic care has an average cost of US$63 per cat, which if multiplied by the number of cats in Japanese homes, the total sum would reach US$6,758 million per year.
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According to figures provided by the BBC of London, cats have contributed more to the country’s economy, than the government has spent on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Gameswhere the estimated investment was $12,258 million.
In an interview for British media, Miyamoto explained that Japanese families spend relatively little on these animals, however, the economic growth is due to the large number of households that have at least one feline.
“In other words, the accumulation of small sums by each family contributes to the Japanese economy, it is the engine that keeps the whole thing moving,” he explained.
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There Japan Pet Food Association estimated in 2021 that in the Asian country there were around 16,000,000 dogs and cats. However, there was an effect on the acquisition of these animals, japanese families they prefer to adopt cats rather than dogs.
Given this effect on the market, several brands have aimed to venture into the cat business despite the fact that their core brands focus on other segments of the population.
according news from japan companies like ST Corp (manufacturer of deodorants and insect repellents) and Unicharm Corp. (menstrual products and disposable diapers), sought to enter the pet market with their own product lines.
Unicharm plans to release, in addition to cat diapers and absorbent textiles, a snack with a spoon-shaped container so that cat owners can feed them without problems.
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The president of the company, Takahisa Takahara, commented for the Japanese newspaper that its sales in 2021 exceeded 100,000 million yen – a figure it reached for the first time in its history – and that part of this growth was driven by products for domestic cats.
ST Corp is one of the newcomers to this type of market and expects that within five years, 10% of its products will be cat-related. The organization explained that many Japanese are worried about the smell of cats, so they go for deodorizing products.
Ryoichi Okubo, an expert in the pet market, explained that in the coming years, it is expected that there are more products for parents inside.