As buyers start focusing more on sourcing from India it makes sense to understand what the major Indian exports are. Is your product type something that is commonly manufactured there? If so, there must be suitable manufacturers there and it’s something for you to look into. But where to start?

 

What are the major Indian exports of note these days?

We analyzed what the major Indian exports were in the years leading up to 2024 to see which product categories were hottest there.

Shoppers in the West are probably already starting to see certain product types coming from India more commonly in 2024, but as a buyer, which are you most likely to be able to source from and manufacture in India right now?

Here’s the list of key exports from India in order of approximate share of the overall exports:

  1. Handicrafts
  2. Leather products
  3. Plastics
  4. Industrial & Auto parts
  5. Textiles
  6. Jewelry
  7. Coffee & Tea

 

Key Indian manufacturing locations

Where do the major Indian exports come from, though?

It’s worth remembering that India is huge and you may prefer to find suppliers or factories that are near a convenient port for shipping your goods (for example, Chennai or Mumbai).

key india export production areas

Map credit: Indiasourcing.net

 

What are the top product export categories? (Summary)

We suggest you watch this video which talks you through the categories:

However. we provide a summary of each here, too (with data largely sourced from IBEF.org):

Handicrafts

Handicrafts is one of the most important sectors in the Indian economy employing more than seven million people. Types of products include:

  • Wood-wares
  • Embroidered & crocheted goods
  • Art metal wares
  • Hand-printed textiles and scarves
  • Imitation jewelry
  • Handmade items such as baskets, pots, etc

The handicrafts market in India achieved a size of US$ 4.s billion in 2023 and is projected to reach US$ 7.8 billion by 2032 largely driven by sales in online marketplaces.

The USA, UAE, UK, and Germany were the key importers of Indian handicrafts in 2023.

Leather Products

India’s key leather exports include:

  • Footwear
  • Leather Goods & Accessories
  • Finished Leather
  • Leather Garments
  • Saddlery & Harnesses

Footwear is by far the largest type of leather product exported, and the market as a whole was worth about US$4 billion in 2022-23, which has receded from around US$6 billion in 2015-16. The USA, Germany, the UK, and Italy were the top importers in 2023.

Plastics

India is a rich location for plastics manufacturing with an industry spanning back to the 1950s and with over two and a half thousand exporters to choose from today. Plastics can be anything from parts, films, bags, and even raw materials for producing other plastic goods (such as the plastic pellets used in injection molding, for example).

Raw materials, films and sheets, and woven plastics like tarps are the three dominant plastic exports, and the market has grown to over US$10 billion of exports per year in 2023, almost doubling in the past 5 years or so, and with the USA, again, being the main importer with around a 20% share of imported plastics in 2023.

Industrial & Automobile Parts

Engineering is the largest industrial sector in India and accounts for 3.53% of the country’s
Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The country’s engineering sector comprises manufacturing of a vast range of different types of products: iron, steel, non-ferrous metals, industrial machinery, automobiles, auto components, and more, worth around US$88 billion in 2023 and primarily exported to North America and the EU.

Textiles

Textiles have been one of the major Indian exports for a long time, and man-made fibers (MMF) made from oil-based materials or wood pulp are the two common textiles. To be clear, these include:

  • Fabrics like polyester and viscose
  • Yarns
  • Spun filaments
  • Rope
  • Blankets and bed linens
  • Fishing nets
  • Furnishing articles

Fabrics make up almost 340% of textile exports, followed by yarns at almost 30%, so raw materials over finished goods which are equal to around 26%. The market has contracted and is expected to be worth less than US$3.6 billion this year, down from almost US$6 billion in 2023. The USA imports a huge 29.2% of India’s MMF products.

Jewelry

The Indian gem and jewelry industry contributes 7% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The industry employs more than five million skilled and semi-skilled workers.

Over 51% of the exports are diamonds, followed by gold jewelry, then silver some way behind, and the value of exports is on average somewhere around US$30 billion per annum. Key importers by amount are the USA, UAE, and Hong Kong.

Coffee

India’s coffee harvest has been increasing over the past 7 or 8 years and is now projected to be over 3,800 tons this year, up from 3,500. Exports are set to value around US$1.25 billion, and Italy, Germany, and the UAE are the 3 largest importers.

Tea

India is the second-largest producer of tea globally. Indian tea is one of the finest in the world owing to strong geographical indications, heavy investment in tea processing units, continuous innovation, augmented product mix, and strategic market expansion. Assam tea from Northern India is probably the best known, although tea is grown in both the North and South of the country. Tea production is heading towards 1.3 billion kgs worth almost US$800 million, and the countries that import the most, in order of amount, are the UAE, Russia, Iran, the USA, and the UK.

 

Aren’t electronic Products one of the major Indian exports?

Electronic products are a fast-growing product category in India, and from our own experience, it is possible to source components and manufacture some electronics in India right now. We only expect the range that it’s possible to make there to increase in the coming years, and we can already see American giants like Apple moving some production to India (as a non-Chinese source of products).

More information about manufacturing in India

Read the blog posts we’ve written about manufacturing in India and listen to this podcast episode where we explain, live from Chennai, how India is now a good manufacturing option. If you have any questions about sourcing from or manufacturing in India, please also contact us and we can help you get started or achieve your goals there.

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