Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pet market dodges Covid malaise in dog-crazy Brazil



Pet market dodges Covid malaise in dog-crazy Brazil

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Pet stylist Luiz Renato grooms Shih Tzu dog at a pet shop in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in March. AFP

Pet market dodges Covid malaise in dog-crazy Brazil

While the coronavirus crisis has depressed most sectors of the economy in Brazil, the country with more dogs than children splurged much attention, and money, on its pets in 2020.

As lockdown measures compelled people to see less of their human friends, many turned their attention to their four-legged ones.

Sales of pet food and accessories rose a higher-than-expected 13.5 percent in 2020 from the previous year, according to the Brazil Pet Institute, an industry body, after nearly doubling in the past five years.

Pet adoption has soared too – the upside of a rise in abandonments as the pandemic cost many people their income.

"I spent a lot of time at home, and the loneliness started to weigh on me," said Bruno Soares, a 36-year-old computer technician who is one of many to have brought a dog – Brazil's pet of choice – into his life during the global pandemic.

Soares has many anecdotes about Max, who now shares his 45-square-meter apartment in central Sao Paulo, and recounts with a mix of annoyance and tenderness how the white mongrel ate two of his shoes.

Toys and snacks

Marina Inserra, who runs an animal refuge in the city, said there had been a three-fold increase in adoptions in March last year – with some 15 animals finding a new family every day.

"The kennels no longer had dogs... many people who lived alone wanted to buy a dog or a cat," added pet store owner Luiz Renato, who says demand for his grooming services has skyrocketed as well.

"People who used to pay for grooming every 15 days now pay for grooming every week, because they don't want to have the dog dirty inside the house," said Renato, whose revenue has doubled.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A woman wearing a face mask walks her dog at Ipanema neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a country with more dogs than children. AFP

Sergio Zimerman, the founder of online pet store Petz, said the company grew 46.6 percent in 2020 from 2019.

He said toy and snack sales boomed, as did sales of cleaning products as more and more people seeking to socially distance from others started washing their dogs at home.

Essential service

The sector was aided, in large part, by being designated an "essential" service.

Along with pharmacies and supermarkets, pet goods stores could continue operating even as many other businesses have had to close their doors during intermittent lockdowns since March last year.

Inserra told AFP that the rise in pet adoptions has flattened somewhat as the pandemic has drawn on, though it was still higher than before.

Market observers do not expect the economic impact of the health crisis – which claimed more than 375,000 lives in Brazil to date – to change the country's obsession with pets.

The country of 212 million had some 54.2 million dogs in 2018, according to the Brazil Pet Institute.

This was out of a total of 140 million companion animals – with cats, birds, fish, reptiles and small mammals also popular.

Brazil is the world's second-biggest market for dog food after the United States, and the third for pet food in general.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of