Singapore’s demand for furry friends is at an all-time high.
According to data from the Business Times, there were around 288,900 pets in Singapore in 2019, including pets not registered with the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) and adopted pets.
This is why many Singaporeans were understandably worried when Singapore entered lockdown due to Covid-19, and many animal-services were deemed unavailable.
For example, vets were only allowed to see to emergency and non-elective cases, including hospitalisation. This prompted and sped up the transition of many traditionally physical pet services online.
Here are some businesses that have made this digital shift:
Telemedicine For Pets
Telemedicine, in human terms, refers to a virtual doctor consultation, where doctors can diagnose conditions and prescribe treatments.
Even though telemedicine has been around in the medical sector for a number of years now, most Singaporeans still feel more comfortable seeing a doctor offline.
The uptake of telemedicine as an alternative to visiting the doctor became slightly more normalised with the emergence of Covid-19 and social distancing rules.
Much like consulting a doctor online, pet owners can also consult vets from the comforts of their own homes.
Several vets in Singapore have launched telemedicine services. These online vet consultations are done by AVS-registered vets, who assess and diagnose your pet’s condition remotely via video call.
Medicine will also be delivered and prescribed if necessary.
Zumvet is a local startup which connects vets in Singapore to clients via video consultations. According to their website, a video call goes for S$30, while a house visit can be scheduled for S$150.
Pet Sitting Platforms
Besides medical services, pets also have other necessities like grooming and exercise.
Online marketplaces that link pet owners to service providers are aplenty these days.
Singapore-based PetBacker links up pet owners to pet sitters, dog walkers, taxis, groomers and more.
Another similar platform is Pawshake, which matches pet owners to services like dog boarding and walking.
Traditional Pet Supplies Stores Going Online
Local pet supplies chain Pet Lovers Centre is a household name, especially for pet owners.
Singapore’s oldest and largest pet supplies store had to halt operations for all of its 70 outlets during the circuit breaker.
Pet Lovers Centre chief executive David Ng told The Straits Times in an interview that the company began investing in e-commerce operations since 2003.
Hence, the pet supplies giant was not incapacitated by the circuit breaker, and was able to take orders via its online store.
According to David, the firm’s daily online orders surged up to 18 times more during the circuit breaker.
Various e-commerce startups that specialise in pet supplies have also been popping up in Singapore over the years, with Pawrus being one of them.
Founded in 2014, it is a pet supplies e-commerce platform that aims to educate pet owners on appropriate pet care.
Pawrus founder Kevin Yeo told Vulcan Post that “he both produces well-researched content on his shop blog and ensures that he has top-notch knowledge of his products as his main advantages against his competitors.”
Pet Influencer Marketing
Move aside human influencers, pets are the latest trend in influencer marketing.
The Woof Agency is a digital and social media agency that specialises in pet marketing, from launching social media campaigns to creating content for brands.
It is also Asia’s first pets-only influencer agency.
The startup has recently partnered with personalised video message platform Sendjoy, and users can now receive a customised video message from a furry friend.
There are currently eight pets available on the platform.
The collaboration was also part of a move to brighten up the “lives of those who have been disrupted by the pandemic.”
“I think there’s just something magical about pets and how they can light up your day that easily,” said Jane Peh, co-founder of The Woof Agency.
A ‘Purr-Fect’ Opportunity
It has been said that the Covid-19 pandemic has provided a wealth of opportunities for some industries, and sped up the digitisation of others.
Coupled with the growth in the number of pets in Singapore, demand for services such as telemedicine and e-commerce for pets is steadily on the rise as well.
Singaporeans are also increasingly spending more on their pets, and giving them the royal treatment.
According to Statista, Singapore’s pet food industry generated a revenue of US$102 million (S$138.14 million) in 2018 alone.
Hence, it seems like the time is opportune for the pet industry to pivot and diversify its operations online to be able to capture a greater market share.
Featured Image Credit: Zumvet via Facebook