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Chinese pet owners contributed CNY 170.8 billion to the economy in 2018, up 27 percent on 2017, but what standards cover the lucrative and growing market for pet apparel in China?

dog with denim clothing standing on white sheets

The total number of Chinese citizens owning pets in 2018 was 73.55 million. Of those, around 56.48 million were urban dwellers – totalling around 91.49 million dogs and cats. These figures, accumulated in “2018 Chinese Pet Industry White Paper”, show the importance in which pet ownership is held, especially among the more affluent urban classes.1

As living standards in China improve, pets have become more than a practical necessity, they have become a lifestyle choice. Many Chinese urban citizens see cat and/or dog ownership as something more than simply owning a pet. These animals are treated like surrogate children and this includes dressing them like other family members.

A 27 percent rise in the dog and cat accessory market between 2017 and 2018 is a clear indication of the opportunities that are available. Demand determines supply, and it is therefore not surprising that clothing manufacturers are now entering this lucrative market. For example, golden retriever owners can now buy boots, shirts, dresses, hoodies, sweaters, costumes and raincoats, specifically for that breed of dog from Taobao and Tmall, Chinese platforms similar to Amazon. Different designs mean owners can synchronize what their pets are wearing with what they are wearing.

Pet Apparel Product Standard

A relatively recent introduction, Chinese pet apparel is covered by FZ/T 81013-2016 – Dog apparel. This came into effect on September 1, 2016, replacing the 2007 iteration of the standard. While this product is subtitled ‘dog apparel’ it does in fact cover all pet apparel made from textile fabrics.

The standard covers:

  1. Instructions for use – must conform to GB/T 5296.4 and label chest girth and top length in cm
  2. Specification – main parts should be designed by manufacturer. If the specification deviates, the manufacturer should refer to the standard
  3. Raw materials – meet the requirements of relevant nation and industry standards
  4. Color difference – no lower than grade 4 among each fabric part
  5. Appearance defects – refer to standard
  6. Sewing – refer to standard
  7. Ironing – each part shall be flat and neat, without over press, water spot or pressing marks. Degumming, bleed through, wrinkling, bubbling or gum stains are not allowed at the fusible interlining placements
  8. Physical and chemical properties – cover fiber content, formaldehyde content, pH value, decomposable carcinogenic arylamine dyes, odor, dimensional change after washing, color fastness to washing, and color fastness to rubbing (both dry and wet)

Dressing Your Pet

Many pets do not naturally need clothing. It is therefore important to consider these rules when dressing your pet:

  1. Only dress if appropriate – dogs are generally cold-resistant animals, especially longhaired breeds. It is therefore not necessary to dress longhaired dogs for warmth
  2. Consider other factors – body size, fat content etc. will all impact on the pet’s ability to keep warm and therefore its clothing requirements. In general, small dogs with less fat get cold easily
  3. Not only warmth – clothing can also help protect the pet’s body from sharp objects
  4. Protecting you and your pet – clothing can reduce dander from dogs, which may induce respiratory allergies, and can keep your pet free from ticks and fleas
  5. Cats need to clean – they lick their hair to clean themselves every day. Make sure clothing is removed to allow them to perform this natural habit
  6. Size is important – as with humans, ill-fitting clothes can be uncomfortable for the pet

SGS Solution

With a global network of over 40 specialist state-of-the-art laboratories focusing on softline products, SGS helps manufacturers bring safe and compliant products to the marketplace. Our cost-effective solutions come with fast turnaround times, helping business take advantage of the expanding pet apparel market in China.

Learn more about SGS’s Softlines Services.

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For further information, please contact:

Craig Zhang
SGS Global Softlines
SGS-CSTC Standards Technical Services Co., Ltd.
t: +86 21 61402666 2422

2018 Chinese Pet Industry White Paper