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Trade Watch Blog
  • Writer's pictureITGS

The India sourcing advantage

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

India has long lived in the shadow of its Asian neighbours when it comes to being a preferred sourcing destination for buyers around the world. But not anymore! It is now fast emerging as a ‘place to go’ for everyone. Fuelled by the remarkable transformation and growth in the last decade, the country is fast establishing itself as the premier supplier for products and services.

If you are a buyer and you wish to diversify your product portfolio, save cost and do value addition then India should be an obvious choice. With the availability of a mind-boggling range of products, centuries old craft traditions, advantage of skilled workers, improved infrastructure, cultural compatibility and a favourable regulatory environment, India has all that is needed to make sourcing simple and fun.

Also, for those affected by naysayers and negative reports, it’s time for a fact-check. India is no longer a third world country. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is actually the fifth largest in terms of GDP. Not only the economy is stable with a robust banking system, but the country also has the political stability backed by a strong democratic government ensuring rule of law and a fair and transparent business environment. In essence, here you can find reliable, trustworthy suppliers backed by strong banking network and a comprehensive legal framework.

India, today, is at a decisive point in its journey towards growth and presents to the world a profile of an emerging giant. So, potential buyers and visitors can rest assured that they would be dealing with an ancient civilization that has modern outlook, industrial might, professionalism along with the traditional warmth and friendliness of its people and all the creature comforts that they may be used to, back home.

In the fast-changing global dynamics in post-Covid world, where uncertainty is the new normal, India, in fact, is probably the only country that promises you certain success. The reasons are many. Here are some important ones:

Enormous variety of material and unique products

India’s craft tradition has no parallel in the world, in diversity as well as in uniqueness. The nation’s rich cultural heritage and centuries of evolutionary tradition is manifested in the huge variety of crafts made all over the country. In fact, it is as diverse as its customs and traditions.

As for contemporary products matching evolved markets and Western taste, the Indian artisans and entrepreneurs, by their sheer ingenuity and perseverance, have metamorphosized the traditional, folk crafts into beautiful commercial products of utility and décor as per market needs and demands. So whether you are looking for hand-crafted items or highly accurate lighting fixtures, India has them all. Come, explore this fascinating world where modernity embraces tradition.

Advantage over China - Customization

Let’s do an easy comparison. If you want to order one SKU with full container load where will you go? The answer is China because for large volumes of one single product involving an assembly-line kind of production, China would still be your best bet. But if you want to customize 20 SKUs in 3 sizes and each one in 5 colours with some 200-300 pcs each then, be assured, your best option would be India. Indian entrepreneurs are intelligent, methodical and cooperative. They rely less on machinery and more on manual labor which makes it easier to make customized, high-end products that can potentially be sold at a higher price point.

Also, India is strong in natural materials be it wood (almost all kind), metal (Iron ore, alumina, copper, zinc, alloys etc), fabric (cotton, silk, linen, all types of man-made fibers and filaments etc) and an enormous range of eco-friendly materials (Jute, coir, sisal, hemp, sea-grass, bamboo, banana, areca-palm etc). In fact, most of the world, including China, buys their raw material from India. So, it’s a lot better to go directly to the source and potentially have a better selection and lower costs.

Ease of doing business

India is a vibrant democracy and has a strong elected government that guarantees rule of law and a regulatory framework that encourages entrepreneurship. Besides the digital governance and transparency takes care of the red tape and bureaucratic delays.

While the suppliers are mostly educated and intelligent, the presence of many dynamic Buying Houses also helps in inculcating professionalism in the whole eco-system. They have the product knowledge, high quality standards and a vast network of best suppliers that believe in ethical dealings and compliance with social and legal norms.

Adaptability and flexibility of Indian suppliers

Indian suppliers are rather notorious for never saying ‘No’. But this is actually an affirmative, positive trait. This shows their eagerness to cooperate with their buyers and accommodate their demands. Though they sometimes get carried away with their promises but then you have agencies to moderate the exuberance!

More so, in India, you are easily understood. Despite India having 18 official, widely spoken languages, almost everyone you deal with can speak English. So, the language is no barrier.

Economical and skilled labour force

India has an abundance of labour. With a huge working population, you never run out of workers. Most of the workers are skilled or semi-skilled, have attention to details and are able to execute complex tasks. And they are economical. The wages in India are still much lower as compared to even China, Indonesia & Taiwan.

Tariff advantage vis-à-vis China

Mr. Trump does not impose additional 25% tariff here! So, not only Indian products remain competitive, they also offer you unique value-for-money proposition.

And even without the Trump tariff, India has lower wages and material costs as compared to China. It is fast emerging as a viable alternative to many other production centres, not just China.

More so, Indians are always open to negotiation. So, if you try, may be, you can strike a good deal!

Not just a sourcing but a selling destination too

India provides a massive market backed by rising, aspirational middle class. Presence of almost all global brands including Amazon, Walmart, Ikea, Nike…you name it and they are all here. Even likes of Pottery Barn and Marks & Spencer source from India and then sell here, as well!

Lastly, you are always welcome!

In India, people feel good when guests come to their home. They greet guests with respect and warmth and treat them with utmost care. The guiding principle here is ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which means ‘The Guest is like God’.

So, come enjoy the hospitality and warmth of this welcoming nation. Not only, you will be able to build your business here but can also build ever lasting relationships!

Happy sourcing!


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