A dog sits in a stroller made exclusively for pets during a pet fair in this undated photo. Yonhap

The market for pets is quickly outgrowing that for babies in the area of food, strollers, medical treatments and other products and services, according to multiple sources of data, Sunday. This is all taking place amid Korea’s rapidly dwindling birthrate, with more Korean households now raising companion animals.

According to the online shopping platform Gmarket, among the sales of food for pets and powdered formula for human infants, 69 percent of sales were for animals during the first five months of this year.

The company said that such a trend, pet food selling more than baby food, has been witnessed since 2021, and that the pet food market has been leading the baby food market by a margin of more than 10 percentage points thereafter.

Some other data from the e-commerce platform showed that 57 percent of the strollers on its platform were for dogs and other animals in the first three quarters of 2023 while the remaining 43 percent were for babies.

Concerning medical treatments, the number of veterinary hospitals was twice as many as that of children’s hospitals as of November 2023, according to data from medical and veterinary industries.

These figures come as the number of dogs registered with the Seoul Metropolitan Government totaled 622,000 in 2023 in the data compiled by Statistics Korea, a higher figure than the 594,000 newly-born babies in the city from 2014 to 2023.

In its most recent survey concerning the topic of the birthrate, Statistics Korea said the average number of expected births from a woman in her lifetime came to 0.76.

The quarterly tally marked the lowest record for any January-March period since the agency started recording birth-related data. It is also far below the 2.1 births per woman needed to maintain a stable population without immigration.

In contrast, more than 5.5 million households or 12 million individuals nationwide were raising pets as of 2022.

The number of individuals accounts for one-fourth of the country’s entire population.

Industry sources speculate that the trend of the pet care market outgrowing the baby care market will get more extreme over the next 안전 couple of years. They noted that the market for pets will grow to 6 trillion won by 2027, after reaching 4 trillion won in 2023.

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