Today, “made in India” toys have a clear advantage in domestic markets and manufacturers are increasing their production capacity to meet growing local and international demand.
India’s toy import fell sharply from $304 million in 2018-2019 to $36 million in 2021-22, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
On the other hand, exports increased from $109 million in 2018-2019 to $177 million in 2021-22, he added.
According to the industry, the sector is also going global as manufacturers explore new markets and increase their exports to countries in the Middle East and Africa.
India’s toy industry is growing as the government has required domestic players to obtain BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) certification for importing and has also raised tariffs, said the chairman of the Toy Association Of India , Ajay Agarwal.
“Those are the two reasons why the import of toys has declined,” Agarwal told PTI.
Encouraged by these support initiatives, Indian manufacturers are now increasing production and investing to increase capacity, he added.
“Now several manufacturers are making toys based on Indian ethos and culture. Icons like Chota Bheem are very popular and several manufacturers have the license to make them,” he said, adding that more and more manufacturers fall into this category of toys.
According to a joint report by industry body FICCI and KPMG, India’s toy market was estimated at around USD 1 billion in 2019-2020 and is expected to double to USD 2 billion by 2024-25.
“Three years ago, 80% of toys were imported and the remaining 20% came from domestic manufacturers, but now the situation has changed,” Aggarwal said, adding, “Imports have been reduced by 60-70% and many players are just importing components and assembling the toy in India.”
Rajeev Batra, promoter of Panda International, said the government’s decision to ban the sale of uncertified toys in the country had played a “game-changer” role in boosting domestic manufacturing and reducing imports from China.
“Two or three years ago, about 80% of toys sold in domestic markets were imported. Most of them were Chinese toys, but after the introduction of the BIS regulations, the scenario has changed. Today now importing is not easy, we started manufacturing here and exports as well,” Batra said.
He said the government takeover helps the industry to set up manufacturing units.
The industry has suggested the government introduce a production-linked incentive program for the sector and a separate export promotion board.
Manu Gupta, promoter of Playgro Toys India, also said additional government support would help the industry reach the next level, generate jobs and boost exports.
“The global toy industry is worth around $120 billion and India’s share is small. A national toy policy and production-linked incentive program would help promote the growth of the sector,” Gupta said. .
According to Agarwal, the value of retail sales was around Rs 20,000 crore before the pandemic and is expected to increase further this year due to increased demand.
Since January 2021, the government has required all toy manufacturers and importers to have BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) quality certification. More than 800 manufacturers in the toy industry, mainly from the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector, are now BIS certified.
The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Additional Secretary Anil Agarwal said government initiatives such as raising import duties and issuing a control order for quality have helped to reduce imports and promote manufacturing, and now the industry must “think big ideas”.
The Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on toys was increased from 20% to 60% in February 2020 to promote local manufacturing.
Two years earlier, in the second half of 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on startups and entrepreneurs to ‘team up for toys’ as he noted India’s tiny share of the global market of the toy of more than Rs 7 lakh crore and claimed that the country has the talent and the ability to become a hub for the industry.