When customers became aware that food and sanitation items were stored and sealed off because of Covid-19, and transportation in some areas was halted, it led to panic buying — for pet supplies — said Lu Kun, general manager for e-commerce at wecarepet.com.
While the novel coronavirus outbreak halted many businesses, the extended Spring Festival holiday turned out to be a hectic time for suppliers of necessities for pets, China Daily reported.
“Not only us, many pet product stores on Taobao or JD received overwhelming orders for food and sanitation products. Our sanitation products already went out of stock a couple of days ago,” Lu said.
Consulting on pets’ health also increased on the company’s WeChat subscription account, which has over 310,000 followers to date, Lu said.
The surge came about just when many local governments urged a shutdown in pet care centers or veterinary hospitals to reportedly prevent the coronavirus from spreading further due to unsubstantiated rumors that pets were exacerbating the spread of the disease, the report said.
“Normally we receive about 100 consulting requests from our WeChat followers on average per day. But during this extended Spring Festival holiday, we have been receiving 200-300 consulting requests on a daily basis. Among those, about 90 percent asked for one-on-one consulting with veterinarians who charge from 39 yuan (US$5.59) to 79 yuan based on the question,” Lu said.
The company has recruited nearly 100 veterinarians to date, both part-time and full-time and mainly Chinese, from around the world for consultations, the report said.
“We also received questions asking about pets’ masks, as many dog owners in less severely stricken areas still need to walk their dogs. But we haven’t started this product line, considering there’s no such quality check on producers, no hygiene standards during production procedures, nor a way to prove the masks are effective in preventing infections,” Lu explained.
“Pet masks” remain hot words for searches on Taobao and JD.
A pet mask seller named Saila on Taobao has sold over 5,500 masks for dogs during the recent month, with the mask priced at 49 yuan each. Another dog mask seller named Langsi on Taobao also sold 4,640 masks for dogs last month, with each mask priced between 49 to 53 yuan, the report said.
Pet food, cat litters, dog masks, sanitary products, medical consulting services are ordinary products and services which have seen a surge in demand during the outbreak as people scrambled to care for their furry family members, the report said.
Aside from those ordinary products, some novel services like training or indoor dog walking and preventing dogs from getting depressed have also seen a spike in demand, the report said.
Juxiaomeng, an online coaching platform for pet owners, launched a one-on-one coaching series on pet training which has been specially designed to deal with the epidemic.
“We have specialized lessons to teach owners to walk their dogs indoors. They were welcomed in severely stricken areas. We also have lessons on how to prevent dogs from getting infected while walking them outdoors,” said Wen Jianguo, the founder and CEO of Juxiaomeng.