New Delhi, November 18, 2020: Having borne the brunt of COVID-hit markets and disruption in manufacturing and supply chains, India’s handicraft sector is now upbeat about revival of export demand in the last quarter of the year.
Free trade export group, Usha Exim Pvt Ltd, is hopeful for a resurgence in exports for the Indian handicraft sector as the onset of the festive season is likely to infuse greater demand in the global markets which are also now better accustomed to the ‘new normal’ practices of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Leo Shastri, Director of Usha Exim Pvt Ltd says the handicraft market is already showing signs of revival after suffering disruption for several months due to the Covid 19 lockdown and subsequent migration of artisans and weavers. He foresees a significant jump in exports in the second half of 2020 like it happened in the previous year. Notably, the Indian handicraft export was expected to cross Rs 24,000 crore mark by FY 2020-21, but the long COVID induced disruption has put a question mark over this possibility.
“Handicrafts are unique expressions and represent a culture, tradition and heritage of a country. The Handicraft Industry is one of the most important sectors that provides livelihood to millions of people. This year, for various suppliers across India, the demand had come to a standstill forcing many shut downs and bankruptcies. However, thankfully things are getting better now and hopefully we will all learn from the mistakes we have made. Compared to the first quarter, we have had an increase of approximately 20% and 35% in the second and third quarters respectively. And, that’s why we strongly expect that Indian handicraft export will pick up in the last quarter of 2020,” said Mr. Leo Shastri.
Usha Exim Pvt Ltd, a fair trade export company of multiple products, produces a wide range of high fashion fair trade jewelry. Besides jewelry, their other high selling points are bags, belts, scarves, home furnishing and garments. Their 95 percent revenue is generated from exporting their products in countries like US, Germany & Australia. And, the rest 5% is domestic sales.
Overseas demand has picked up from last month but as most of the countries have initiated measures to tackle Covid-19, it is still subdued.
“Aggressive demand is not there and the prices have dropped in the US and Europe markets. The quantities have dropped along with the prices affecting the entire supply chain from production to logistics to end-retail. However, as we head towards Christmas, we are expecting that the festive season will infuse greater demand in the market,” Mr Leo added.
Official data of Indian handicraft exports for 2020-21 is yet to be announced but the industry reckons that it could fall short of targeted over Rs 24,000 crore mark as the exports were hit by Covid pandemic. The US is currently the largest buyer of Indian handicrafts followed by UK and other European countries.