Hong Kong Pet Spending Survey: The Cost of Pet Ownership Can Reach Up to HK$680,000

(Hong Kong – 12 March 2024) Recent market research has estimated the cost of raising a child in Hong Kong to be HK$6 million. As the social landscape continues to evolve, an increasing number of families are opting for pets instead of having children. However, the expenses that come with pet ownership should not be underestimated. In a survey commissioned by virtual insurer OneDegree and conducted by independent market research firm Ipsos, it has been revealed that owners with their pets insured may spend up to HK$680,0001 to provide for a pet.

Considering an average of 1.5 pets per owner whose pets are insured, the estimated expenditure for each pet owner amounts to approximately HK$1.02 million2. This highlights that the love and care involved in pet parenting can be comparable to raising a child, as both parents invest similar levels of dedication, time, and financial resources.

The survey was conducted online in February 2024, interviewing 526 cat and/or dog owners about their spending on pets. Considering all surveyed pet owners, regardless of whether their pets were insured, the average cost of pet ownership per owner was HK$490,000. With an average of 1.4 pets per owner, the estimated expenditure for each owner to financially provide for their pets was approximately HK$700,000.

Average pet spending per owner reaches HK$1.02 million, with medical expenses accounting for 17.2%

Analysis of responses from all surveyed pet owners revealed that 7.4% spent over HK$10,000 per month on their pets. The highest spending category was “pet food and snacks” at 19.4%, followed by “vet and medication” at 17.2%. The third highest category was “health checkup and dental care”, which also pertains to pet health, at 9.8%. Pet insurance ranked fourth, accounting for 8.7% of spending.

The survey shows that medical expenses constitute a significant portion of pet parents’ budgets. 87% of surveyed owners had taken their pets to the vet, indicating that vet consultations are almost indispensable. Among them, 66% had sought general practice veterinary consultations, while 18% had sought specialist veterinary consultations.


Emily Chow, Deputy Chief Executive of OneDegree, said, “The survey clearly shows that uninvolved or permissive parenting is no longer the norm for pet owners. They highly value daily care, diet, and their pets’ well-being and health. Not only do they seek vet care when pets fall ill, but they also schedule regular checkups and enroll them in pet insurance. They consider pets as family and provide their four-legged companions the same love and care.”


Pet owners identify cancer as the costliest medical expense, recognizing value in one-time cash benefit for alleviating financial burden

Surveyed pet owners identified cancer and kidney disease as conditions requiring expensive medical treatment. OneDegree understands the psychological pressure and financial concerns pet owners face upon discovering their pet has cancer. To support pet parents, OneDegree offers the one and only Pet CEO Plan® in Hong Kong, which not only covers cancer-related medical expenses but uniquely provides a one-time HK$10,000 cash benefit without restrictions. This helps pet owners navigate challenges alongside their beloved pets. OneDegree has observed that policyholders have used the cash benefit for various purposes, such as purchasing health supplements for their pet or creating memorable experiences by going out with their sick furry friend.

Based on surveyed owners’ experiences and estimations, average cancer treatment cost was estimated at HK$44,000. However, OneDegree’s internal claims database showed the total treatment expenses in a real case for an 11-year-old Finnish Spitz with mammary cancer were HK$95,770, over 2 times the surveyed owners’ estimation. This demonstrates the difficulty in accurately predicting unexpected medical costs. According to the surveyed pet owners’ experiences and estimations, chronic kidney failure was estimated to average HK$27,000 in treatment.

Importantly, regular pet medical procedures can also be expensive. OneDegree’s veterinary consultant notes that since pets cannot verbally communicate their pain or sickness to the vet, examinations like blood tests, X-rays and ultrasounds are often necessary when a sick or injured pet visits the vet.


Significant discrepancy: up to over 9-fold gap between pet owners’ cost estimations and actual pet medical expenses

Surveyed owners significantly underestimated total costs for common pet diseases’ entire treatment cycles. For accidental foreign body ingestion, a common occurrence among pets, owners estimated average medical expenses at HK$10,100. OneDegree’s claims data revealed total cost for treating bowel obstruction from foreign body ingestion was HK$62,208.

Similarly, for lower urinary tract disease which is more common in cats, owners estimated that the average cost of treatment was just HK$13,700. However, actual expenses in OneDegree’s claims data reached as high as HK$140,471, indicating over a 9-fold difference between owners’ estimates and real costs according to insurance data.


Survey reveals coverage adequacy as top concern for pet owners, with OneDegree as top-of-mind pet insurer for majority of respondents

With high pet medical costs, owners seek ways to alleviate financial burden. However, pet insurance penetration remains low in Hong Kong. The survey found 16% of respondents never heard of pet insurance, while less than half (48%) of the 84% aware had enrolled their pets. When surveyed pet owners who are knowledgeable about pet insurance were asked about providers, OneDegree was the first to come to mind for the largest share (32%).

Chow added, “The online survey targeted early adopters who are more open to pet insurance. Even among them, penetration was under 50%, indicating an even greater challenge in the broader Hong Kong market with an estimated 5% penetration. This is significantly lower than the 14% penetration in Japan3. Inadequate coverage can easily disrupt budgets or even cause abandonment. Therefore, OneDegree actively promotes its comprehensive Pet CEO Plan to better prepare Hong Kong owners and pets for unexpected events.”

Among surveyed owners who had not insured their pets but were considering doing so, top considerations were coverage adequacy (37%), premium costs (35%), and reimbursement rates (10%). Notably, 96% of owners who were familiar with pet insurance considered “no sublimits” as an important benefit, highlighting the market demand that OneDegree’s exclusive Pet CEO Plan® effectively meets with its unique “no sublimits” feature.

More cat owners than dog owners, with the majority favouring adoption over purchasing

The survey revealed interesting insights, including that 41% of surveyed pet owners exclusively owned cats, versus 39% for dogs alone. Additionally, 20% owned both.

For cat breeds, the most popular among the respondents was Domestic Short Hair (30.9%), followed by Shorthair4 (20.9%) and Persian (14.2%) – consistent with OneDegree’s internal data. This demonstrates Hong Kongers’ affinity for Domestic Short Hair and willingness to insure them, showering all cats with equal affection regardless of pedigree. Dog breed popularity was more evenly distributed, with Japanese Shiba Inu (15.8%) closely followed by Poodle5 (13.6%) and Golden Retriever (13.3%).

The surveyed pet parents also showed a preference for adoption over purchasing. Among respondents, over 60% of their pets – 62% of cats and 63% of dogs – were either adopted or obtained from friends/family. Many respondents also aim to expand their pet families, with 44% interested in adding new members within three years.

Chow concluded, “Hong Kongers’ deep pet love is clear. This groundbreaking pet owner spending survey in Hong Kong recognized potential pet ownership costs of up to HK$680,000 and disparity between owners’ budgets and actual medical expenses. Here, pet insurance is essential to alleviate financial burdens arising from high medical costs when pets fall ill or face accidents. It allows pet parents to properly manage expenses while devoting necessary financial resources and time to their beloved furry friends.”


1 The total general and medical expenses incurred over a pet’s assumed 14-year lifespan, calculated based on the responses from surveyed pet owners with pet insurance

2 The total general and medical expenses incurred over a pet’s assumed 14-year lifespan, calculated based on the responses from surveyed pet owners with pet insurance and taking into account the average ownership of 1.5 pets per owner

3 Source: China Pet Industry Market Development Analysis and Forecast Report 2014-2019

4 Including American Shorthair, British Shorthair, and Exotic Shorthair

5 Including Toy Poodle, Mini Poodle, and Standard Poodle 

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