Eyeing the burgeoning e-commerce sector in the country, handicraft exporters are joining hands with big portals to tap the domestic market.
Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) Vice-Chairman Rajesh Kumar Jain said, "There is a huge demand of handicraft products in India and e-commerce portals are the best medium to tap those consumers. Several of the handicraft players are joining hands with e-commerce companies. Further, at a time when the global economic situation is not in a healthy state, domestic market offers huge opportunities for exporters.
"Flipkart and Snapdeal are good platforms where we can sell our goods in India," said Jain. Handicraft exports in India declined by 10 percent year-on-year in January to USD 120 million.
At present, India is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Asia-Pacific along with China. Besides, with increase in Internet penetration, adoption of smartphones and lower data rates are completely changing the way India shops.
Furthermore, favoured demographics and growing Internet user base helped in aiding the growth. As per estimates, the sector’s market size in the country is around USD 5 billion annually.
Jain added that as handicraft is a labour intensive sector, these platforms would also help in further creation of job opportunities.
The major product categories which can be sold on these platforms include house-ware, home textiles, furniture, glassware, bamboo goods, fashion jewellery and lamp & lighting, he said. Analysts say online shopping space in India is expanding at a massive scale and the journey is not yet over.
Further talking about the councils’ expectations from the forthcoming Budget, Jain said the government will have to take several steps in order to boost the sector’s growth domestically and in the global markets also.
"We are aiming to double our share in the global market from the current three per cent and for that we need help in skill development, enhancing quality and standards of our products and help in exploring new markets. Besides, the sector is facing challenges in terms of skilled manpower, added Jain.
"We are trying our best to impart best of the skills. But we need an institution like we have FDDI for the footwear sector. We are expecting some major steps to be announced in the Budget for our sector," he added.
The country’s annual handicraft exports ranges between USD 3 billion to USD 4 billion. The sector employs about 70 lakh people directly and indirectly.