A joint report by industry bodies FICCI and KPMG had estimated that the Indian toy industry was worth USD 1 billion in FY 2019-2020 which would double by FY 2024-2025 to reach USD 2 billion. These figures are low compared to the global worth of the toy industry which stands at a whopping 120 billion.
This is a massive change from a decade ago when the Indian market was flooded with imported toys with eight out of ten toys being predominantly imported from China. The import worth of toys in the year 2014 was USD 3.28 billion and USD 19.36 billion in 2015 – six times higher than the export. The Indian toy industry was ailing due to a lack of investment and technology as well as competition from cheap imported toys. Also, traditional toys were long forgotten and the local industry was in shambles with 40% of manufacturing units closing permanently and a further 20% on the brink of shutting down.
Approximately three years ago, the industry turned on its head as it grew to become a net foreign exchange earner. Exports increased by 61.4% from USD 202 million in FY 2018-2019 to USD 326 million in FY 2021-2022 while imports decreased by 70% from USD 371 million to USD 110 million during the same period.
The global disaster of the covid-19 pandemic caused a severe disruption in supply in the year 2020. This became a blessing in disguise in a combination with rising governmental support for the dwindling toy industry.
Introducing New Policies
The Indian government introduced two key initiatives. February 2020 saw an increase in basic customs duty from 20% to 60%. Then a year later, in January 2021, it issued a Toys Quality Control Order, which made it mandatory for all toy manufacturers, domestic and international, to get a Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification for selling toys in the Indian market. As per the specifications, all toys for children under 14 years of age must conform to 7 Indian quality standards. These supportive measures had the combined effect of curbing cheap as well as high-quality imports and encouraging local manufacturers to flourish. The immediate effect was on the long-standing public health concerns surrounding Chinese toys, 67% of which were found to be highly toxic.
The introduction of the BIS rules also heightened India’s stance with its major markets like the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands in Indian exported toys maintaining international standards. It also encouraged many toy importers to enter the manufacturing space to export Indian toys to markets in West Asia and Africa.
Drawing the Attention of Multiple Players within the Industry
A National Toy Action Plan was introduced in the year 2020 to boost domestic manufacturing of toys as per the ‘Make in India’ plan and make the market more competitive. The India Toy Fair was launched in 2021 providing a platform for toy manufacturers to exhibit their creations. This led to a direct connection with end customers who could purchase toys from them. Also, this provided an excellent way for traders to assess the industry’s potential.
Creating Toy Clusters
A program named SFURTI (Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries) was launched. Under this program, Toy Clusters will be created aiming to bring together in-campus business support services that will include business accommodation and social infrastructure to support the entire workforce working under the Toy Clusters. These Toy Clusters will enfold different business services involved in toy making like raw material suppliers, shared infrastructure, research and development, design and prototyping, testing, training, quality certification, customs, ancillary industries, and service providers. The Indian government has approved a total of USD 23 billion for constructing 8 toy manufacturing clusters – 3 in Madhya Pradesh, 2 in Rajasthan, and 1 each in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
Launching the PLI Scheme
The Government of India is planning to launch a Performance Linked Incentive
(PLI) Scheme worth USD 35 billion that is specifically for Indian toy manufacturers making both traditional and mechanical toys. Applicable for five years, this scheme will apply to BIS-compliant toys subsidizing the sale of toys by local manufacturers.
Digital India’s proactive approach is ensuring that toys manufactured in India are slowly and surely gaining more presence on popular e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. Indian toys are also available on the government website GeM.
The proactive measures taken so far by the Indian government to revive the toy industry are highly encouraging as toy manufacturers are seeing newer opportunities. These measures are also helping India in building its image as a trustworthy destination for quality manufacturing. The scope for growth of the Indian toy industry is great which will also boost employment in direct and indirect jobs within the industry.
Ajay Agarwal, President of the Toy Association of India said – “Now several makers are manufacturing toys based on Indian ethos and culture. Icons like Chhota Bheem are very popular and several manufacturers have the license to manufacture them.”
The Indian government’s move to prohibit the sale of non-certified toys is being hailed as a game-changer and a major booster for the Indian toy manufacturing industry. Added to that, the various hand-holding schemes launched by the government are also helping to set up more manufacturing units. The industry is on the path of strong growth and expansion with the talent and ability to become a global toy manufacturing hub as more and more international brands are also exploring the possibility of setting up their manufacturing units in the country.
Is the toy industry growing in India?
The Indian toys market reached USD 1 billion in FY 2019-2020. Looking forward, the market is projected to reach US$ 2.73 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 12.6% during 2022-2027.
What changed the Indian toy industry?
Below are the factors that changed the Indian toy industry:
- Introducing new policies
- Domestic manufacturing of toys as per Make in India
- Creating Toy Clusters
- Launching the PLI scheme
- Utilizing E-commerce