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Products and services for pets, a sector that is growing fast

An owner walks his dogs in Malaga city centre.
An owner walks his dogs in Malaga city centre. / Salvador Salas
  • The average amount spent per household on pet food and care has risen by over 60 per cent in ten years and is now about 200 euros a year in Andalucía

It's an easy equation to work out. If the number of pets is increasing, and families are spending more on looking after their animals, this is obviously going to be of interest to entrepreneurs and investors: domestic pets are a growing business opportunity.

It is no coincidence that in recent years many more veterinary clinics have opened, along with shops selling specialist products, dog grooming salons and similar businesses. Nor is it coincidental that investment funds are setting up operations worth millions of euros with companies in the sector. One of the most notable examples is Malaga-based Tiendanimal, which was acquired at the beginning of this year by Peruvian investors who also own the Kiwoko chain. The new owners aim to create a giant business that will lead the pet market in Spain.

Business worth millions

According to a survey on family budgets (the Encuesta de Presupuestos Familiares), carried out by the National Institute of Statistics, the average sum spent per home on “domestic animals, products and related services” has increased by 62 per cent in Andalucía in the past decade, from 121 to 196 euros a year. In total, families in Spain spent 3.5 billion euros on pet care in 2019.

When Antonio Martínez, an Argentinian entrepreneur who came to Malaga two years ago, began thinking about setting up a business, he soon realised that the world of domestic pets offered a host of opportunities.

“I have a fox terrier and when I was looking for a dog grooming salon none of them could give me an appointment for at least three weeks. That’s a sign that demand is greater than supply,” he says, speaking from the salon he opened two months ago: Victoria Canina, in central Malaga.

“An increasing number of people are living alone nowadays, and many of them want a pet for company. People are spending more time and money on looking after them, as well,” he says.

“It hasn’t been easy. I spent six months training in dog grooming and hygiene and I had to wait four months for the environmental permit the local council insists on,” he says.

The investment and his efforts are starting to pay off. “I didn’t expect to be able to cover my costs this soon, so I’m actually doing better than I thought I would,” he says.

Just as more businesses like Antonio’s are opening up in towns and cities, the Internet is also buzzing with pet-related business initiatives. That is how Kome began in 2019. This is a high-end Malaga brand of pet food which is now also being distributed to shops.

An added advantage of this sector is that it has hardly been affected by the pandemic. In fact, it seems that the lockdown led more families to look for a furry friend. Everything points to the fact that products and services designed for pets will continue to increase in the future, as will the number of small-scale entrepreneurs and major investors. Indeed, there are already several investment funds which only invest in companies in this sector.