Petex – India’s largest B2B2C expo – recently concluded in Hyderabad, India. Petex is a platform where big and small players of the Indian pet industry showcase their ware to increase awareness about their offerings, build new business relationships, and to directly reach out to their customers/partners. Petex also provides an interface for the entire Indian pet community – from pet parents, pet lovers, trainers, groomers, service providers, product manufacturers, NGOs, government bodies, and bureaucrats – to come together and engage in productive discussions on pet care and welfare.
I had the opportunity to visit Petex this year, and it was nothing short of a revelation for me! Little did I know that the industry was so huge, or that it enables so many people in the country to earn a decent livelihood. I was also surprised to visit stalls selling products that I did not even know pets needed. I was amazed by the eye-ball-grabbing line-up of dog and cat breeds participating in the various shows that were conducted. I also saw first-hand how strong the pet parent community in Hyderabad was. All of them showed up at Petex, with their furry friends on tow, to have a fun day out. But, what really stood out for me was the sense that there is a whole world out there that truly and deeply cares for pet animals. While holding on to that thought, I would also like to share with you some other distinct observations that I made at Petex. Here they are:
Pet Industry Is Exploding In India
And I know this for a fact! The aisles and aisles of pet products and services that were on display at Petex reminded me of this over and over again. This industry is here to stay, and is poised to grow even further, given that the population of pet parents is all set to increase manifold in the years to come. ‘Animal love’ is on an up and up in this country. Pet parents are becoming more involved in the lives of their pets and have grown to love them like family. This industry has used this ever-increasing, never-dying ‘pet love’ as the fuel to propel its astronomical growth.
Focus On Pet Care And Pet Health Has Increased
As they say, with ‘great parenting’ comes ‘great anxiety and worry’. Pet parents are constantly concerned about the health and well-being of their pets. This ‘worry’ has translated into a multitude of products that focus on improving the health of pets or to
protect them from infections/diseases. At Petex, I noticed that the health care industry has gone all guns blaring into pet care. I came across herbal products, ayurvedic products, and even toys, that are less toxic, and hence, more pet-friendly. Some of these are medicines that help cure specific illnesses. Some others take the form of floor cleaners, shampoos, and soaps, which help protect the fur and skin of pets. Some more were vaccines that help prevent ailments. In short, the entire health spectrum of pets was covered end-to-end at Petex. What was more heartening was the fact that many of the health care products were manufactured indigenously – i.e., in India. Also trying to carve a niche in the pet care space were veterinary services. There were vets offering offline consultation free or at discounted rates at Petex itself. There were cloud-based services that help you contact and consult veterinarians online. Veterinary services were also a small part of a wide gamut of pet- related services that a company offered. Petex also turned the spotlight on pet grooming as an aspect of all-round pet care. From mobile grooming studios, to international grooming academies and equipment, the options are endless for groomers and even pet parents.
Pet Food Space Is Getting Crowded With Many Players
Pet food was everywhere at Petex! From frozen to fresh, from treats to meals, almost every form of pet food found a stall at Petex. International collaborations were competing hard for market space with Indian products in this landscape. But, what could be the reason for this high level of interest in pet food? Personally, I feel it is because pet parents have started to pay more attention to what their pets have. Pet parents now know that pet food has a direct impact on both the physical and mental health of their pets. In fact, at Petex, I even met a dog mom turned doctor, who researched on pet food with a vengeance and came up with her own array of pet products, after her furry friend fell casualty to the poor food choices she made for him. Since I do not see parents’ paranoia over pet health decreasing any time soon, I can confidently predict that this segment is going to grow by leaps and bounds in the near future. Pet parents are going to be spoilt for food choices very soon! At that juncture, my only advice to pet parents will be to not judge a book by its cover. Do not go by the color, but by the quality of ingredients used.
The Craze For Pet Clothes And Accessories
Cute frocks, crazy shirts, fancy collars, designer harnesses, hats, shoes, and non-toxic toys – NO! These were not sold for human children at Petex, but for pet children! Graduates from NIFT and other institutions of repute from within and outside this country, are now moving away from designing clothes and accessories for human beings; they are instead seeking creative satisfaction from designing the same for pet dogs and cats. Every stall selling such cutesy products at Petex was buzzing with activity, with pet parents going berserk.
If there was one observation that made me incredibly happy at Petex, it was the number of young entrepreneurs that this pet industry seems to have created in the last few years. Most of the novel pet food / pet hygiene / pet health / pet technology concepts that were on display at Petex had young, brilliant, spirited minds behind them. Many of these youngsters were even first-generation entrepreneurs! I saw a couple of young girls promoting a technology that they had engineered – this hi-tech pet collar keeps collecting basic metrics on pet health in real-time, and reports the same to a mobile app, along with a vet’s recommendations. There were a whole bunch of youngsters commandeering a stall that was promoting a cloud-based veterinary service. Another young man invented and manufactured a waterless pet shampoo wipe, which can be used to give pets full-body shampoo baths without any water! The list is endless! It was nice to see young India rejecting lucrative white-collar jobs and opting for a difficult journey down the entrepreneurial road. They appeared to strongly believe in themselves and their concepts. Most importantly, they seemed to deeply care for the voiceless. And when I saw how much they care, I knew that the future of India is in safe hands!
Pet Vacations Are Finally Getting The Attention They Deserve
Pet vacation curators were seen generating a lot of buzz at Petex. The new-found interest in pet vacations can be attributed to the hospitality industry finally waking up and embracing the fact that pet parents treat their pets like family, and prefer to dine, party, and even vacation with them. The pet vacation curators are also mindful of the need for pets to possess healthy social skills. Without social skills, pets can develop severe physical and psychological deficiencies. Through pet vacations and via social gatherings for pets at resorts/restaurants, pets receive the opportunity to interact with other human beings and pet animals. This vastly improves the overall state of mind and reduces behavioural aberrations in pets. To know why pets need to socialise, look up our blog on the subject. At Petex, someone was offering camping trips for pets and pet parents. A newly setup pet
resort and a pet café in Hyderabad were enticing pet parents with pet vacation and party offers.
In fact, Petcation too is planning to organize a pet vacation soon for pet parents in Chennai. Watch this space for more details regarding the same.
Pets Are No Longer Just Cats And Dogs
Gone are the days when the word ‘pet’ brought to mind the image of a dog or a cat! Nowadays, a pet can be anything from a cow, fish, parrot, hamster, or even an Igwana! At Petex, all pet animals were given equal weightage. There was a section dedicated to aqua life, and another dedicated to birds. Both these sections were incredibly colourful and paraded an awesome collection of fish and birds! There were plenty of food products too that catered to the varied dietary needs of the different pets.
In short, Petex gave me incredible insights into the beautiful world of pets, and taught me how to appreciate, respect, and care for that world. Events like Petex are important, not just for pet-related businesses to grow, but also to identify gaps in the services provided to pets and how to fill those gaps. Such events also bring pet parents in different parts of the country together, so they can socialize, network, and build a nation-wide community of pet lovers. Pets too congregate in such
events, so they can flaunt and show-off their better selves, and make more people fall in love with them!