Founded in 2018, “Apetmart”, is Singapore’s answer for pet supplies in this niche marketplace. Its e-commerce platform recently announced an expansion of its product offerings. “We founded it with the mission to make more quality food easily accessible to more pets, our wide collection of pet supplies is carefully curated from reliable sources,” Lyn Feng, its managing director, told Inside Retail. Variety is key For small animals like hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and mo
s, and more, the brand provides food to accessories. For bird keepers who are looking for high-quality bird food or healthcare products, a range of items from well-known brands are now available. The company also introduced a range of well-crafted aquariums and a wide variety of aquarium accessories for all one’s fish-related needs. With a curated selection of quality pet supplies from more than a hundred of renowned brands, the company has made premium pet products more affordable and accessible to pet lovers globally. Solving pain points Feng’s journey towards setting up this company began back in 2017, after she adopted an abandoned lollipop-tailed tabby cat. The cat was malnourished, ribs clearly visible, and like many new pet parents, she initially purchased cat food from the supermarket. “As we took a closer look at the items we bought, we were surprised to find out that the first ingredient used was animal derivatives instead of actual meat. Essentially, it means we have no idea what we are feeding to our cat,” she noted. That was when she realised that better choices needed to be made in this area, and she started looking into the pet supply industry. “One year later, we founded the company with the mission to make more quality food easily accessible to more pets. We only sell what we would personally offer to our own pets,” she added. So far 2022 has been a year worth celebrating for the company, as they have witnessed the biggest growth in revenue since the inception of the brand. “The sales in the first half of the year alone is on par with the annual sales generated in 2021. With the expansion into niche pet categories, our brand will continue with its exponential rate of growth in Singapore,” she stated. Rising adoption rates In Southeast Asia, during the last two years, pet adoption rates skyrocketed during the height of the pandemic as strict social movement restrictions took a toll on the population. Nonetheless, it was reported back in April that some animal welfare groups in Singapore saw a 30 per cent increase in the number of owners abandoning their pets. According to ChannelNewsAsia, the groups said the upward trend became apparent half a year ago, when the economy started to open up. Feng has always been an advocate for animal adoption. Her customers also share the same belief as her. “Last year we saw a 200% increase in new customers. Many cat parents I know adopted their cats from the streets,” she said. According to Feng, some customers also shared that they made the purchase to support community cats who were usually abandoned pets wandering around in the city state. “Hence, we have introduced the Community Strays Feeder Support Program to help less privileged animals in the concrete jungle,” she added. The rise of premium pet care Feng noted that as pet owners are becoming more informed on pet health related topics, affluent customers are spending more on natural products. To cater to consumers’ demand for natural food, manufacturers have introduced food formulas that mimic pets’ ancestral diets. For example, a brand has introduced more wild game flavours, including wild boar, bison, venison, for cats and dogs, which are very popular in Singapore. Feng said that the natural diet trend is evident in the rise of freeze dried food as well. “For instance, Instead of meat alone, a brand’s freeze dried product range contains 95% & 98% of meat, bone & organs in dog & cat food respectively, which mimic animals’ diet in the wild,” she added. On top of that, she noted that the formula contains a good concoction of organic superfoods, such as organic cranberries, beets and blueberries. All these have contributed to the brand’s success in Singapore. “The sales for freeze dried food at the company has tripled in 2021 as compared to 2020. This is largely due to the fact that freeze dried food can be conveniently stored at room temperature and easily prepared by rehydrating it,” she noted. Feng explained that among all the supplements, probiotics has gained the most traction among consumers. Functional probiotics, which target various specific health concerns, give customers a new option to tackle health issues of their pets. Emerging trends Living with pets is a lifestyle choice, and Feng has noted that pet owners are now picking up more sophisticated furniture specially designed for pets. “For example, we have seen increasing demand for the floor-to-ceiling DIY cat trees. Compared to a traditional scratch post, the cat tree is extended from floor to ceiling to allow cats to vent off energy by climbing up and down,” she explained. There is also demand for pet-related technology solutions such as automatic pet feeders and automatic cat litter boxes. “On top of convenience, the scientific approach technology brings, such as scheduled feeding, also gives pet parents more assurance of keeping a healthier lifestyle for their pets,” she noted. Premium orthopaedic beds are also seeing a rise in demand, especially for senior dogs. “We have seen searches for pet orthopaedic beds picking up by 20% last year based on our website data,” she said. Market realities Feng noted that the Covid-19 pandemic was a litmus test for the industry in terms of logistics planning and operation management. “Even though the storefronts of many pet supplies businesses have been digitised in Singapore, the operation behind the scene is still largely run on traditional models, be it for brand distributors or retailers,” she noted. With experience in technology and consulting, Feng has worked with her team to optimise business processes and improved operational efficiency to drive cost savings and faster delivery times. Interestingly, Feng has recently launched their own Youtube channel to provide useful information on pet related topics. This will complement their editorial page, which is a learning hub for pet owners.