Paww couture: On International Dog Day, a dive into pup apparel market

A stroll in the neighbourhood market is now incomplete without passing by a pet store displaying more than just petcare basics like food and medicines. Pet apparel now commands prime window displays, spotlighting a wide range of items such as t-shirts, bowties, raincoats, shoes and bibs, specifically designed for four-legged furry beings. Homegrown labels and premium tie-ups with international cartoon and movie series are designing and dominating the pet apparel market, competing to provide the best-in-fashion for pets.

According to Ambarish Sikarwar, Business Head, Zigly, some of the hottest-selling clothing items include shirts, t-shirts and bowties. He attributes this demand to several factors, the primary being a rise in people looking to have pets. “India is the fastest-growing pet care market with home to about 20 million pet dogs and about 19 million other pets. The petcare category is growing with a CAGR of 17% which makes it open for upgradation and innovative ideas” he explains. Other reasons, such as growing disposable income, exposure to international trends also contribute to this demand. “The industry is experiencing an upward trend and estimates suggest that it will be a USD70 billion industry by 2032 as per reports by Future Market Insights (FMI), as a result of the prevalence of pet fashion influencers, small pet apparel businesses, and product design advancements,” he elaborates.
(L) Zigly’s range of shirts for dogs. (R) Bowtie and shirt combinations for dogs from Mutt of Course.

The demand and supply dynamics play out both ways with customers also placing orders for bespoke, made-to-order apparel. Working on the feedback her patrons shared, Sakshi Bawa, founder, Mutt of Course designed bowtie-and-shirt combinations for dogs. “Our customers wanted something exciting and fun for their pets keeping in mind all the upcoming festivities, so we delivered. Pet parents are looking for innovative, quirky, and reliable products, and are willing to spend on things that excite them,” she shares. One of the bestsellers in their repository this year has been the raincoat. “We sold more than 2,500 raincoats this year, which is a 3X growth for us,” she shares adding that these demands also inspire businesses to innovate. “We had launched our Harry Potter collection in December 2021 and it was a sell-out with over 10,000+ pieces being sold in the first few months of the launch. This favourable demand inspired us to launch our Tom & Jerry collection, which was the second collection we launched in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products,” she says. Likewise for Zigly, who is clocking in an increase of 23% on a month-on-month basis when it comes to apparel. “We have been regularly innovating in this area with different kinds of options for pets such as summer collection, monsoon collection and more,” says Sikarwar.

It’s not just a millennial thing

Bawa notes that their average buyer is aged in the bracket “18 years to 34 years and comprises of both men and women” and the lines generally overlap when it comes to defining if a certain age category splurges on pet apparel.

Himangini Shukla, a Noida-based instructional designer with a 2.5 years old beagle named Buddy, gets only the best of products for him. “There is no limit to how much I splurge on him, be it on shoes, sweaters or harnesses. He has two pairs of Ruffwear shoes that cost around 4.5k each. I also got a pair of sunglasses imported for him that cost 6k,” she says, adding that she also regularly takes vacations planned solely around him.

For 36-year old Natasha Adlakha, a resident of Indirapuram, spending money on her pets is not an expense but a way to pamper them. “We spend around 8k-9k a month on Kulfi (her desi pet) apparel which includes t-shirts, jackets and sweaters. We also had a golden retriever, Google, who passed away in December last, for whom the expenses were more as he was a big dog. His sweaters would cost around 3k while Kulfi’s sweaters come for 1.5k-2k,” she says.

Theo dressed in a raincoat.
Theo dressed in a raincoat.

Vidhi Malla, a Delhi-based communications consultant, who has two indies Toto and Theo, spends around 4k-5k in a quarter on their apparel. In addition to this, she also got them light-enabled collars. “My friends from abroad also bring gifts for them which are not usually available in India,” she says.

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