The toy market in India has seen exponential growth in recent years. Imports fell by around 70% and India’s toy export market increased by around 60%, showing that the country’s investment in domestic production has yielded surprising results. Meanwhile, members of the Toy Association of India indicated, that imports would fall further by more than 10% by 2025 and the focus now will be to tap the export market.
However, the members also believe that the import market may not see a further drastic reduction in near future as raw materials, mechanical parts, motors and chips of toys still come from the international market, and they are then assembled in India.
A toy shop in Jhandewalan said, “Most of the motored vehicles for kids consumed in Indian market are still Chinese because of their better make, durability and cheap price.” Ajay Aggarwal, president of the Toy Association of India, said, “It’s not practical to say that the goods will be completely replaced because a few components still need to be imported from China. Once the government starts work to produce those components, then only we may free ourselves completely from imports.”
He further said: “The share of imports is reducing in the domestic market, manufacturers are scaling up, manufacturing is also increasing and eventually, the market will also increase, people are investing in the toy industry. The possibility of imports growing is less due to the government’s measure of increasing import duty. The government is also helping MSMEs and with time, exports will keep growing.”
The government had increased the basic import duty on toys from 20% to 60% in February 2020, in a bid to boost the Indian market to buy much of the required basic materials within the country for the production of toys.
It is worth mentioning that India’s exports of toys have increased from $311 million in FY 2018-19 to $503 million in FY 2021-22, up by 61.39%.
Aggarwal added, “Now, we need the toy design centre, we need capital investment, we need funds and we need land to scale up our manufacturing. If it is done, we can completely replace the import market. And we can put our toys across the world.”
Bablu, who runs a toy shop, said, “It is undeniable that Indian products are sometimes cheaper than Chinese ones, and easy for customers to buy. But Chinese products have better finish, they have better fabric; many people who want to buy better products go for Chinese ones.”
“In recent years, we have seen an increased buying of stuffed animals by playschools, they take these Indian products in bulk, because they are cheaper. Last year, we sold Indian plush toys three times more than we normally do,” Bablu said.
Aggarwal said, “Once we go for mass production, our products will also be cheaper, China has a worldwide market, which India does not have. When we get into this market, our toys will also be cheaper.”