Brazil's Pet Market Shows its Teeth

The U.S. may be the world's largest market for pet products, but Brazil is hot on its tail as the fastest-growing sector.

Despite recent economic woes that resulted in a large GDP decline in 2015, Brazil still saw its pet market rank third in the world with $5.4 billion in revenue last year. That accounts for a hefty 5.3% of the $102.2 billion global pet market. Only two other countries take in a higher percentage: the U.S., with 42%, and the U.K., with 6.7%. And Brazil also has the second largest pet population in the world, with 266 million domesticated animals in the country. Only China has more, with 289 million pets.

"South America and China are the new frontiers for the pet industry," said Phillip Cooper, president of the consulting firm Pet Industry Expert. "There are huge populations of new pet owners."

Brazil's pet food market in particular has always been strong. The sector was consistently ranked second worldwide for a longtime before being displaced by Japan. Even though Brazil's pet food market is now only the third largest, it's certainly not settling for table scraps: pet food generated a mighty $5 billion in revenue last year.

However, pet care outside of dog food has been historically weak in Brazil. "In the U.S., pet owners spend on dogwalkers, day cares, vets," said Jacques Muszkat, who has been a pet owner in both Sao Paolo and New York. "In Brazil, people don't usually spend on third-party services for their pets."

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