The Korea Herald


More strollers sold for furry companions than infants

By No Kyung-min

Published : Dec. 25, 2023 - 13:20

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In perhaps yet another sign of the country's declining number of births, South Korea’s largest online marketplace reported Monday that sales of pet strollers exceeded those of baby strollers for the first time this year.

According to Gmarket, of the total strollers sold on the platform during the first three quarters of this year, those for pet animals accounted for 57 percent, while those for babies constituted the remaining 43 percent.

This situation marks a notable change from previous years, where pet carriages made up 33 percent of total sales in 2021 and 36 percent last year. Baby carriages previously had a larger share in both years: 67 percent in 2021 and 64 percent last year.

A Gmarket official noted the continuous trends of increased purchases of pet-related items alongside declining sales of baby-related products.

But the rather significant shifts in market share observed this year warrant further study in order to understand the underlying causes, the official added. South Korea is witnessing a growing trend of families choosing to adopt and spend money on pets, a development that contrasts with the country's declining birth rate and the falling number of babies born here.

According to Statistics Korea, the total fertility rate, representing the average number of births per woman throughout her childbearing years, dropped from 1.48 in 2000 and 1.23 in 2010 to 0.84 in 2020 and 0.78 last year.

The statistical office additionally anticipates a further drop in the total fertility rate to 0.72 this year and 0.68 next year.

The number of newborns has also seen a decrease, dropping from 640,000 in 2000 to 470,000 in 2010 and further down to 270,000 in 2020. Last year, the figure dipped below 250,000.

On the contrary, the number of households raising pets is growing, with recent statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs indicating that over 25 percent of Koreans now have pets.