Koreans Spend More Money on Pet Care

  • By Kim Hyo-in

    January 19, 2021 12:22

    Once notorious for eating dogs, Koreans are now more likely to lavish care and money on their four-legged friends.

    Pet insurance spending more than doubled last year, while credit card spending at veterinary clinics soared 15 percent. The coronavirus epidemic allowed people to spend more time with their pets, and veterinary clinics thrived in lockdown.

    According to the five major insurers that sell pet insurance, 55,800 payouts were given to dog owners last year, up 2.3 times from 2019.

    Credit card use at veterinary clinics also increased. Korea's eight major credit card companies saw card use at veterinary clinics rise between 9.7 and 17 percent in 2020. BC Card compared monthly usage in 2019 and 2020 and found that spending at the vet's surged 29 percent in May last year and 26 percent in June.

    "It looks like pet owners became more aware of the health of their animals as they spent more time at home together," a credit-card company staffer said.

    But spending on human health declined as people shunned hospitals for fear of coronavirus. According to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, outpatient spending declined 0.86 percent, particularly at pediatric hospitals (down 43 percent) and ear, nose and throat clinics (down 29 percent).

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