The global reef aquarium market size was valued at USD 7,501.73 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 12,674.01 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 6.02% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Reef aquariums, often known as reef tank is, a marine aquarium that features live marine invertebrates and corals, such as hammer coral, candy cane coral, pulse coral, and frogspawn coral. It also features many species, including gobies, tangs, and clownfish, crucial to maintaining the tropical coral reef ecosystem. A reef aquarium needs more stable water chemistry than fish-only marine aquariums, adequate intense lighting, turbulent water movement, and careful consideration of which reef creatures are suitable and get along with one another. Reef aquariums consist of several components, in addition to the livestock, including a display tank, stand, sump, refugium, lighting, canopy, and filtration and water movement.
Nations like the U.S. and the U.K. are market leaders in pet adoption, but several other countries like China, India, Japan, and Brazil have been at the forefront in terms of growth in pet adoption. According to Petsecure, pet adoption in the U.S. has tripled since 1970. Moreover, fish are becoming increasingly popular as pets, which, in turn, is propelling the expansion of the reef aquarium market. In Britain, fishes are now the third-most-popular pets after dogs and cats, according to the blog by Pet Plan.
Owing to the increasing number of people shifting to smaller homes and rentals in urban areas, the space to keep a larger pet has reduced considerably. Fishes are quiet creatures and occupy much less space in homes, which has driven consumers to adopt them as pets. This trend creates several growth opportunities for adopting reef aquariums in the residential sector. Moreover, the rising traction toward the aquarium hobby affects the penetration of reef aquariums and largely impacts its global trade.
The surging popularity of e-commerce and online sales supports the demand for various aquariums and their accessories. Customers can acquire a large variety of fresh items every day of the week, 24 hours a day, via online platforms with global reach. The fact that product information is more thorough and offers users insights through consumer evaluations and other channels is another benefit of aquarium accessories. As their customers have a strong internet presence, many reef aquarium vendors conduct business through online portals, thereby fueling market growth.
The increasing demand for ornamental fishing has resulted in the overfishing of various reef species, with a decline in their population in their natural habitat. Thus, overfishing of a certain species on or adjacent to coral reefs affects the reef's ecological balance and biodiversity. The popularity of keeping tropical fish as pets has created a virtually unregulated industry that catches and breeds as many fishes as possible, with little regard for the animals themselves.
Indonesia is amongst the biggest suppliers of marine ornamental fish globally, with an estimated 12,0000 people employed in the coral industry. In May 2018, the Indonesian government banned all coral exports to stop the illegal harvesting of wild coral. According to the Indonesian Coral Shell and Ornamental Fish Association, the ban resulted from efforts to synchronize regulations between the Environment and Forestry Ministry and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry. Therefore, the ban on coral reefs can hamper the reef aquarium market growth.
Attachment theory has been applied to human-animal relationships, with findings suggesting that humans and animals can serve as attachment figures and provide feelings of comfort and safety during times of uncertainty or stress. As an aquarium generally contains more than one aquatic creature, the total number of fish owned in 2019 is estimated to be as high as 139.3 million freshwater fish and 18.8 million saltwater fish, according to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
In addition, some health benefits of fishkeeping include stress relief, anxiety relief, calmness, controlled heart rates, mood enhancements, and helping Alzheimer's patients. The available research shows the benefits of viewing fish in an aquarium. For instance, a study of older adults in 2019, watching either live fish in an aquarium or a similar videotape, found a decrease in the physiological markers of stress compared to those watching a placebo. Thus, such advantages offered by fish aquariums on human health create opportunities for market expansion.
The global reef aquarium market is segmented by product and end-user.
Based on the product, the global reef aquarium market is bifurcated into natural, artificial, and component.
The natural segment dominates the global market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 6.41% over the forecast period. Natural reef aquariums are gaining traction among urban and inland populations due to the growing awareness of sustainable practices and the conservation of the living environment of various saltwater aquatic species. According to the Journal of Conservation Letters, it is estimated that nearly 50 million coral reef animals (fish, corals, invertebrates) are sold to 2 million hobbyists around the globe, with the U.S., Indonesia, and the Philippines accounting for nearly 85% of trade volume. They offer a healthier environment for organisms and flora to survive because they resemble natural coral elements. Natural aquariums also need methodological care, and various aspects need to be considered, such as refugium filtration systems that help regulate an aquarium's distribution and production of essential nutrients, full-spectrum lighting consisting of T5 or T8 or metal halide lights to replicate sunlight, and water flow systems to run saltwater and provide water movement to organisms.
Components in a reef aquarium observe a vital position in the market, including display tanks, lighting, heating and cooling products, water movement, and filtration units. The increasing revolution in the advancement of fish aquarium tanks has supported product growth and market dominance in this segment. Therefore, new manufacturing methods and materials allow fish tanks to exceed 100 gallons. Prefabricated fish tanks have changed a lot over the years, but most pet stores still carry a limited selection of glass or acrylic aquariums in a few sizes. In addition, moving into the realm of aquarium equipment such as filters, lighting, and cleaning and maintenance, a high standard of products with greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness is allowing higher consumer traction in the market.
Based on end-user, the global reef aquarium market is segmented into household, commercial, and zoo and oceanarium.
The household segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period. Reef aquariums are used in more homes since they enhance their appearance. Moreover, a significant element defining the type of aquariums purchased by a community in a given area is the rise in household income brought on by economic expansion. Aspirational attitudes of populations in developing economies result from awareness regarding aquatic species and coral environments resulting in market expansion. Moreover, the Interior décor realization of aquariums, as they increase the aesthetics of homes, drives the household segment growth in the market. Smart technology advancements have also contributed to increased aquarium hobbyists, as newer features like adjustable lighting, automatic feeding systems, and water treatment systems make aquarium upkeep simpler and more controllable. As mentioned by Sean Raines, Sr. Director of Marketing for Spectrum Brands, during a roundtable interview with Pet Product News, this trend above, along with advanced design trends (aquariums as a feature of home décor), is among the key factors consistently driving sales from the household segment.
Commercial saltwater aquariums and reef tanks are primarily utilized to improve the aesthetic appeal of a particular commercial environment. There is a considerable presence of aquarium suppliers for commercial uses who provide turnkey solutions and custom tanks suitable for the commercial environment. These include a combination of natural and artificial coral elements to meet the performance and cost requirements of the end user. However, on-site fish cultivation utilizing large-capacity reef tanks is a growing trend in restaurants and other seafood-eating facilities. The trend propelled by consumer demand for fresh seafood shall also contribute towards the growth of the commercial segment. Similarly, the growth of ornamental marine livestock culturing, particularly in the Caribbean, North American continent, and Southeast Asia, is also driving the demand for commercial reef aquariums.
Europe Dominates the Global Market
The global reef aquarium market is bifurcated based on region into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Europe is the most significant global reef aquarium market shareholder and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period. Several coral farms are rapidly being developed in the region. On average, reef livestock is exported or sold to individual and specialized stores at around USD 5 to 150 apiece. In addition, most growers prefer to sell such livestock to consumers directly via online channels. The first commercial coral farm in Europe was founded with assistance from a Galician FLAG. It produces roughly 5,000 corals annually and attracts school groups from all over the region. This is anticipated to support the demand for reef aquariums in Europe. According to a survey released by FEDIAF in 2019, 85 million European households were presumed to have at least one pet. Similarly, according to FEDIAF, although cats remained the most popular pets in European households, the adoption of aquaria and ornamental fishes is rising.
Furthermore, fish are the most well-known pets in the United Kingdom. The number of people with marine fish tanks at home is growing in the region, which is expected to generate significant demand for natural products such as fish and corals, among others. An incredibly high mortality rate is observed among marine fish as marine systems are very difficult to keep stable in a small tank. This factor further drives demand as the dead fish need to be replaced.
North America is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.5% over the forecast period. The region's growing pet ownership rate and high discretionary incomes fuel the product demand. According to the National Pet Owners Survey 2017-18, 68% of American households own a pet. Similarly, as per the survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 12.5 million U.S. households keep freshwater fish, and 2.5 million keep saltwater fish. In addition, the increasing prevalence of tech-savvy millennial pet owners has led to technological innovations in the industry. Packaged Facts shows millennials accounted for 27% of all U.S. pet owners in 2019. Therefore, a high proportion of the millennial pet parent category is fueling the demand for advanced and smart products in reef aquariums, thereby boosting the market growth.
Asia Pacific, led by China, Japan, and India, emerged as one of the major markets globally. The regional market expansion can be ascribed to the increasing demand for premium and exotic aquarium fish. The increased prominence of fish in the Japanese art culture further supports the demand for exotic fish and aquariums. For instance, over 30,000 live fish created moving psychedelic artwork at Hidetomo Kimura's Art Aquarium Museum 2020 exhibition in Tokyo. The live art exhibition features over 30,000 fish in water tanks and aquariums of different shapes and sizes, including cubes, cylinders, and spheres. It is accompanied by multi-colored LED lights and screens to illuminate the live artworks. Likewise, nations like China, Indonesia, and India are seeing an increase in the adoption of dogs due to rising disposable income. The India International Pet Fair estimates that the pet population has grown from 7 million in 2006 to 10 million in 2014, and around 600,000 pets are adopted yearly. Such factors boost market expansion.
South America produced 2.3% of the world's aquaculture in 2017, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The demand for reef aquariums and other accessories is anticipated to increase because they are necessary to maintain the health of the fish. Moreover, growing regional export is estimated to boost market growth over the forecast period. In addition, the export of aquatic products from Argentina has increased from 1.5% in 2005 to 4.3% in 2017. Growing commercial properties and higher maintenance expenditures drive the demand for reef aquariums. Moreover, reef aquariums improve the ambiance of restaurants and lobbies, add educational learning in schools, and create a calming atmosphere in doctors' offices.
Africa's middle- and upper-income households are the biggest demand generators for pets and pet products. The growing effects of urban loneliness and the need for companionship motivate people to keep pets. This is likely to have a favorable impact on the reef aquarium market. Additionally, the building of newer aquariums in the Middle East and Africa region is supporting the growth of the reef aquarium market. Advancements in aquarium technologies are pushing for exotic and reef aquariums owing to the higher efficiency and greater control that these technologies offer. Enhanced digital experiences for the owners, including video productions, click-through experiences, and virtual reality simulators, make the overall fishkeeping experience easy, thereby driving the popularity of reef aquariums.
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