When Shin Ye-eun, 33, is not working at her job at an international clothing company, she spends much of her time with Betty, her three-year-old English bulldog. The unmarried, childless Ms. Shin feels a maternal sort of love for her dog.
Actress Park Shin Hye showed her love towards a dog.
“I love her like my child. She is my child, and I know she knows that,” she said.
The number of pet owners in South Korea recently passed 10 million, or about one in five people, for the first time. The increase in pet ownership is taking place while fewer South Koreans are getting married and having children, and some analysts suggest the two phenomena are related.
In South Korea, factors such as the high cost of raising and educating children and intense competition for top white-collar jobs have resulted in more adults staying single for longer and having fewer children when they do wed.
More South Koreans of child-rearing age appear to be turning their nurturing instincts towards pets.
A report released on May 12 by the Nonghyup Economic Research Institute found that total private expenditure by South Koreans on pet supplies has increased by an average of 14.3% per year since 2000.
“People have started to think of their pets as family members, which was unusual before, so they want to take care of their pets as they would their family. That’s what has triggered the increase in the consumption of pet products,” said Park Jong-won, a professor at Korea University.
A growing industry of pet care products and services has sprung up to meet the new demand.
Source: The Wall Street Journal