Filipinos are the likeliest fur parents in Southeast Asia during the pandemic, study shows

Have you turned to your pets for sanity breaks during the pandemic too?

Filipinos are the likeliest fur parents in Southeast Asia during the pandemic, study shows
(Image: Unsplash/Andrew Haimerl)

After almost two years in isolation, our anxiety and depression levels are reasonably at an all-time high. While some of us sought refuge in the form of plants, sourdough bread, and budol finds, nothing quite helped us cope like another living being, i.e. our beloved pets.

Even before the pandemic, the positive effects that our furry friends have on us have been well-documented. This is probably why at the height of our lockdown loneliness, Filipinos became the likeliest pet owners in Southeast Asia.

A study by online shopping aggregator iPrice Group showed that overall searches for pets by Filipinos on Google shot up to almost 7 million by September 2021. This makes up the region’s rough total of 21 million by year-end, which is up 88 percent from the same period in 2019.

Vietnam trailed behind with 1.9 million Google searches for pets. iPrice also noted that Singapore’s interest in pets peaked in 2020, but dwindled by 7% in 2021, a change it chalked up to the country’s loosened restrictions this year. For iPrice, this also means that there is a direct correlation between the demand for pets and the gravity of the government restrictions brought by COVID-19 infections.

person holding orange tabby cat
(Image: Unsplash/Tony Wang)

iPrice also found that search histories were teeming with terms related to pet supplies. According to its database, Google impressions on pet supplies across Southeast Asia increased by 158% between January to October 2021 when compared with the same period of the previous year.

iPrice also settled a longstanding debate about whether we’re mostly cats or dog owners. As it turns out, Southeast Asians are crazy for canines: across the region and in the Philippines, dogs were looked up on Google five times more than cats.

Regardless, having a cuddly companion, be it a cat or a dog, to ease your lonesomeness during your lockdown is always worth the spend. If you’re thinking of getting one just now, remember to #AdoptDontShop!

Art Daniella Sison

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