Filipinos are turning to pet-owning to cope with the pandemic the most in Southeast Asia, research by data aggregator iPrice Group said, adding that dogs are more preferred than cats.
By analyzing Google search data across e-commerce sites, iPrice found that Filipinos' searches for pets were the highest in the region, nearly four times that of second-placer Vietnam and accounting for 53% of the entire region’s. Southeast Asia also has some of the world's worst coronavirus outbreaks.
The region's overall interest in dogs was over five times more than in cats, with Filipinos searches for the sale or adoption of dogs outnumbering that of cats "by a landslide" at 460% more, it said.
Comparing January to September 2021 with the same period in 2019, Filipinos’ searches for pets increased by 118%, the highest in the region together with Malaysia, it added.
iPrice said it observed "direct correlations between the demand for pets and the gravity of COVID infections/government restrictions in the countries", as it noted how Vietnam's COVID cases only spiked in recent months, which could explain how the country logged the lowest increase in pet searches.
It also noted how Singapore’s interest for pets decreased by 7% in 2021 from being highest in 2020, attributing it to the country's loosened restrictions this year due to their managable containment of the virus.
The rise in COVID cases resulted in more movement restrictions in both countries, which led people to shop more online than buying pet supplies in physical stores, iPrice added.