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Furniture export from India: facts and trends list

Furniture export from India: facts and trends list

Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is synonymous with the furniture industry.

A northwestern Indian city known for its artisanal furniture industry, it accounts for up to 30% of all Indian furniture exports. This isn’t surprising, considering its dry climate and skilled craftsmen make it an ideal location for the furniture industry.

Jodhpur’s furniture industry has grown significantly in the past two decades, with its exports increasing from less than INR 200 crore (about USD 24 million) to about INR 4,500 crore (USD 545 million) now. The industry employs approximately 300,000 people and attracts artisans from all over the country.

Jodhpur furniture is usually made from Sheesham, mango, and Acacia (babool) wood, and is exported mainly to Europe and the United States. Along with other furniture-making states like Kerala, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir, and Punjab, Jodhpur plays a significant role in the Indian furniture industry.

This article at a glance

India is renowned for its handmade, high-quality wooden furniture. Indian furniture is strong, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. It could be customised, with prices that would not break the bank. The demand for this type of furniture presents a huge opportunity for Indian exporters specifically, to export ‘Made in India' items overseas, and for UK furniture importers to source high-quality handmade furniture from India.

Want to learn more? Improve your Exporting with these 10 tips.

Is furniture exported from India?

Yes, India exports furniture. According to India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, ‘Made in India' furniture exports increased sharply from INR 1952 crore (about USD 26 million) in FY 2013-2014 to INR 6790 crore (USD 820 million) in FY 2022-2023. That is a whopping 248% increase in furniture exports.

What types of furniture are exported from India?

India exports all sorts of indoor and outdoor furniture for home, office and industrial use. They include beds, coffee tables, sofa beds, dining chairs, dressing tables, kitchen cabinets, racks and shelving, TV units, bathroom storage, tables and chairs, et cetera. It’s made from a variety of materials — wood, rattan, bamboo, steel, laminates, plastic and other materials.

What is the average lifespan of Indian furniture?

The average lifespan of Indian furniture can vary depending on several factors, including the type of furniture, the quality of materials used, and the level of care and maintenance. Here are some general estimates for the average lifespan of different types of Indian furniture:

Solid Wood Furniture: Good quality solid wood furniture, such as those made from teak, mahogany, or rosewood, can last for several decades or even generations with proper care. With regular maintenance, they can easily have a lifespan of 20-50 years or more.

Engineered Wood Furniture: Furniture made from engineered wood, such as plywood or particle board, tends to have a slightly shorter lifespan compared to solid wood. On average, well-constructed engineered wood furniture can last anywhere from 10-25 years, depending on usage and maintenance.

Upholstered Furniture: Sofas, chairs, and other upholstered furniture typically have a lifespan of around 7-15 years. However, this can vary depending on the quality of upholstery fabric, foam, and construction. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prolong their lifespan.

Metal Furniture: Metal furniture, such as iron or aluminum, can have a reasonably long lifespan. Well-maintained metal furniture can last for 10-30 years or more, depending on the quality of the metal and the protection against rust and corrosion.

It’s important to note that these estimates are approximate and can vary depending on individual circumstances. Proper care and maintenance, such as regular cleaning, avoiding exposure to direct sunlight, and addressing any repairs or damages promptly, can significantly extend the lifespan of Indian furniture.

Which furniture items are the most popular in the export business?

Wooden furniture items are the most popular furniture exported from India.

I needn’t tell you that this reflects a trend. Increasingly environmentally friendly consumers are doing away with plastic and synthetic materials, and instead, they’re opting for furniture made from natural materials such as wood, glass, stone and metal.

Homes and office spaces are a case in point, where natural materials abound. Untreated woods, stone textures, wicker furniture and ceramics. Exporters should take note of these trends and work with suppliers who deal with handcrafted furniture.

Below, we list some of the most popular types of wood used to make Indian furniture.

Furniture wood types

Type of Wood Main Qualities Colour Price
Teak Wood Aesthetically appealing, durable and resistant to rot and decay. Dark yellow to dark brown INR 2,000 onwards per cubic foot
Satinwood Easy to care for, requires very little maintenance and is very durable. Bright to warm yellow INR 1,250 onwards per cubic foot
White Pine Wood Strong and durable wood which is resistant to termites. Light brown or tan INR 900 onwards per cubic foot
Sal Wood Beautiful, soft texture, and versatile use. Light in colour but may darken when exposed to the sun INR 1,250 onwards per cubic foot
Indian Rosewood (Sheesham) Attractive graining, hardy and tough multipurpose wood. Reddish to golden brown INR 1,500 onwards per cubic foot

Table source: https://housing.com/news/hi/types-of-wood-used-for-making-furniture-in-india-hi/

Benefits by importing from India

Importing from India can offer several potential cost benefits, depending on various factors. Here are a few key considerations:

Competitive Pricing

Indian products, including furniture, are often priced competitively compared to products from other countries. India’s lower labour and manufacturing costs can result in cost savings, allowing for more affordable pricing.

Diverse Range of Products

India offers a wide variety of furniture options, ranging from traditional to contemporary designs. This diversity can provide you with a range of choices at different price points, allowing you to find products that align with your budget.

Craftsmanship and Quality

Indian furniture is renowned for its craftsmanship and attention to detail. You may find well-crafted and high-quality furniture at relatively lower prices compared to similar products from other regions.

Customisation Options

Indian manufacturers often offer customisation services, allowing you to tailor the furniture to your specific requirements. This can be cost-effective as you can avoid additional expenses associated with customisation by local suppliers.

However, it’s important to consider additional costs associated with importing, such as shipping, customs duties, taxes, and logistics. These costs can vary depending on factors like the volume of goods, transportation method, and regulatory requirements in your country.

To determine the overall cost benefits of importing from India, it is advisable to conduct thorough research, obtain multiple quotes from suppliers, consider the total cost of importing, and compare it with local alternatives. Evaluating these factors will help you make an informed decision regarding cost benefits.

What are the lead marketplaces for the Indian furniture export industry?

Volza is a website which gathers import and export data from over 20,000 ports from 78 countries. According to them, the top three countries to which India exports their furniture are the United States, France and the Netherlands.

Let’s delve deeper. Out of 570,700 furniture export shipments from India in November 2022, the United States accounted for 210,946 shipments, followed by France with 74,694 shipments and the Netherlands with 53,392 shipments.

How to export furniture from India?

Starting a furniture export business in India involves a few steps that include the following:

  1. Set up a legal business operation. This includes establishing a sole proprietorship, partnership, or company and opening a current bank account with an authorised bank in India.
  2. Obtain a Permanent Account Number (PAN). The Indian Income Tax Department issues a PAN card to individuals and entities for tax purposes.
  3. Obtain an Importer-Exporter Code (IEC) number. An IEC is required for exporting or importing from India and can be done online at the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DFGT) website for a fee of INR 500.
  4. Obtain a Registration and Membership Certificate (RCMC) from the Export Promotion Council. An RCMC allows businesses to export and grants access to other benefits or concessions, if available. You can enquire at India’s Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH).
  5. Price and sample products. Providing customised samples to foreign buyers can help to secure export orders. The price should be calculated based on the terms of sale, such as Free on Board (FOB) or Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF), and account for all expenses from sampling to the realisation of export proceeds. Also, create an export costing sheet for each product.

When ready to export furniture from India, prepare your documentation meticulously. Proper documentation (such as commercial invoices, Air Waybills, Bills of Lading, and packing lists) is necessary for a smooth export process. Need to learn more? Read this article about how to Invoice for your exporting business.

How profitable is an Indian furniture export business?

Furniture export from India could be profitable if you know how to market your products and mitigate risks well. Read this article to learn how to conduct Business Overseas with greater efficiency.

Here are some tips to ensure that your furniture export business makes a profit:

  1. Choose the correct type of furniture to export. Are you planning to procure home furniture? Office furniture? Solid wood? Plywood? Unless you are targeting a niche pool of customers, avoid exporting furniture which is too ‘unique'. Aim for evergreen and timeless items that are in demand.
  2. Know your target market’s preferences. Gather data on the types of furniture they like. Do they prefer a traditional design? Modern?
  3. Have an online presence. Enlist your products on your website’s catalogue. Local and international suppliers, vendors and customers can contact you more easily when you provide an email address or contact number.
  4. Consider payment risks that might arise in international trade due to geographical barriers and insolvency issues due to the buyer or country. To mitigate these risks, businesses may obtain an Export Credit Guarantee Corporation policy (ECGC). This can provide a credit limit for a foreign buyer who places an order without paying in advance or opening a letter of credit.

India Exports By Country

Country Last Prev.
United States 483.64 588.73 INRBillion Apr/23
UAE 183.15 234.37 INR Billion Apr/23
Netherlands 143.16 254.56 INR Billion Apr/23
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China 114.21 140.57 INR Billion Apr/23
Saudi Arabia 76.63 85.33 INR Billion Apr/23
Italy 70.50 72.32 INR Billion Apr/23
Singapore 69.87 81.80 INR Billion Apr/23
Germany 65.31 75.97 INR Billion Apr/23
South Africa 60.03 50.71 INR Billion Apr/23
Australia 59.24 38.13 INR Billion Apr/23
Nepal 54.07 54.35 INR Billion Apr/23
Indonesia 53.17 79.21 INR Billion Apr/23
Brazil 52.66 60.07 INR Billion Apr/23
Belgium 47.14 57.67 INR Billion Apr/23
Nigeria 45.50 34.56 INR Billion Apr/23
France 44.68 50.20 INR Billion Apr/23
Hong Kong 43.15 43.55 INR Billion Apr/23
Malaysia 39.32 43.06 INR Billion Apr/23
Spain 36.51 37.56 INR Billion Apr/23
Japan 35.69 38.86 INR Billion Apr/23
Thailand 34.53 40.49 INR Billion Apr/23
Iraq 28.01 29.44 INR Billion Apr/23
Russia 27.95 27.85 INR Billion Apr/23
Canada 25.30 28.16 INR Billion Apr/23
Egypt 25.21 27.40 INR Billion Apr/23
Kenya 20.79 35.75 INR Billion Apr/23
Sri Lanka 20.04 25.45 INR Billion Apr/23

Table Source: https://tradingeconomics.com/india/exports-of-furniture-bedding-mattresses

I am planning to import furniture from India and would like to know the standard or indicative prices of Indian furniture

The prices of Indian furniture can vary significantly depending on various factors such as the type of furniture, materials used, craftsmanship, brand reputation, and location. However, we can provide you with some indicative price ranges for different types of Indian furniture.

price ranges image

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Which country imports furniture from India?

India exports furniture to various countries around the world. Some of the prominent countries that import furniture from India include the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore. These countries have a demand for Indian furniture due to its craftsmanship, unique designs, and competitive pricing. Additionally, India’s furniture exports have been expanding to other markets as well, including countries in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia, as Indian furniture gains popularity worldwide.

What are the average delivery times of an order?

The delivery times for orders of furniture vary based on factors such as order size, types of furniture, and delivery location. However, as an example, for an average-sized order consisting of a single FCL (full container load) shipping container from Mumbai, India, to the UK, the estimated delivery time would typically range from 3 to 6 weeks. By air, that’s between 2 — 5 working days. It’s important to note that this timeframe is a general approximation and can be influenced by various variables such as customs procedures, shipping logistics, and unforeseen circumstances during transit. For more accurate delivery estimates, it is recommended to consult with the specific furniture supplier or shipping provider involved in the import process.

Check out this article about running an Exporting Business if you’re looking to optimise your overseas operations.

Is there a risk of furniture damage during transportation?

There is a potential risk of damage to furniture during transportation from India. However, the extent of the risk can be minimised through proper packaging and handling procedures. Reputable furniture suppliers in India often prioritise the use of sturdy packaging materials, such as 3/5/7-ply boxes, and employ protective measures to safeguard the furniture during transit. Additionally, insurance coverage is commonly available for shipments to provide added protection. While it is important to acknowledge the possibility of damage, selecting reliable suppliers and ensuring appropriate packaging and insurance measures can significantly reduce the risk and ensure a safer transportation process.

What can be exported from India to UK?

India has a diverse range of products that can be exported to the UK. Some of the major export categories include textiles and garments, pharmaceuticals, automotive components, machinery and equipment, organic chemicals, gems and jewelry, agricultural products like rice and spices, electrical goods, furniture, and software services. These products cater to the demands of the UK market and provide opportunities for trade and business between the two countries.

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