An increasing number of home appliances for pets are hitting the shelves in Japan, such as cameras that allow owners to watch the adorable actions of their dogs and cats from outside their home.

Home appliance makers are beefing up efforts to develop high-quality products, pinning their hopes on an increasing trend of pet owners who are willing to spend more money, as they regard pets as family members.

A 54-year-old company employee and his wife in Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture, both work, so their toy poodle is left at home during the day on weekdays. The man said he is worried about their pet during the working day. “The dog is a part of our family. I wished there was a camera that allowed me to watch it during my spare time at work,” he said.

Reflecting the sentiments of such pet owners, Panasonic Corp. will release a camera in December that takes images of pets at home and other places and sends live video to the smartphones of far-away owners. A sensor of the camera detects the pet, enabling the lens to track it, even if they run around. The camera will also be equipped with a function to record video footage.

Sharp Corp. will also release an air purifier that has a special mode for dogs and cats on Nov. 15. If owners register a dog or cat, the air purifier will release a breeze for dogs, which are normally more sensitive to the heat, and refrain from releasing wind flow to cats, which are more sensitive to the cold.

Sharp entered the pet-related home appliances market in July with a cat toilet that automatically records data on cats such as the cat’s weight and the frequency and amount of urination. Owners can also apply for a paid service that notifies them of abnormalities of cats that are detected in changes of recorded data. “We aim to post sales worth 10 billion yen [$89.37 million] in the pet appliance field within two years,” an official in charge of the appliances said.


An analyst who specializes in the home appliances market said the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which affected numerous pets as well as people, has become a turning point that made the public realize anew the strength of the bond between owners and their pets. This became a catalyst for home appliance makers to step up efforts to develop products for pets, the analyst said.

According to the Tokyo-based Japan Pet Food Association, about 18.44 million cats and dogs were pets in 2017, exceeding the human population of those aged under 15, which was about 15 million.

As the number of owners who keep their pets indoors as family members increases, the monthly average spending for pets hit 18,293 yen ($163) – combining the figures for dogs and cats – increasing by about 45 percent in five years.

Market research company Fuji Keizai Co. estimates the market size of pet-related products will be 460.6 billion yen ($4.11 billion) in 2018, a 2.4 percent rise from the previous year.

“There is an increasing trend of spending more money on pets against a backdrop of a decrease in the number of children and a tendency to marry later,” said Dentsu Inc.’s Eiko Akashi, who conducts research on pet-related home appliances. “I expect the number of companies that enter the pet business market will continue to increase.”

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