How Craftezy is Helping India’s Handicraft Industry Increase its Share in Global Markets?
Indian handicrafts represent the rich culture, creativity, beauty, and the workmanship of the artisans of the country.
It has its roots arguably from the oldest known civilisations to us. Most people would agree to the fact that Indian handicrafts are among the best pieces of art in the world. This decentralised sector is fragmented all around the country with around 70 lakhs regional artisans and over 67000 exporters who promote the regional craftsmanship in the global markets.
Despite being the best in the field, India’s contribution of handicrafts to the whole world is as low as 1.2%. This points out the fact that there is an immediate need for a major change in business patterns and increased commitment to increase the total share of Indian handicrafts in the worldwide market. Tremendous efforts are being made by Ahmedabad-based B2B online handicraft trade platform Craftezy in this direction. Let’s explore how this platform works and caters to the world audience but before that, let us understand some of the determining factors that affect this industry significantly.
Struggles of the Handicraft Industry in India
1) Lack of Market LinkagesAlthough artisans of the handicraft products are increasingly becoming urbanized, handicrafts continue to be sold in local markets dominantly. Artisans usually have very few opportunities to reach new customers through relevant platforms. Lack of technological advancement prevents most of them from supplying their premium products to the international market via the internet.
2) Lack of Capital FundingThis industry suffers greatly because of artisans who do not have access to proper loan and credit facilities. Banks avoid giving them loans citing reasons like improper utilisation of funds, poor recovery rates and lack of education on the part of artisans. This forces them to take loans from moneylenders who charge exorbitant interest rates and exploit the artisans. Although the government has provided facilities and aid to them from time to time, they do not have proper information.
3) Less Information About Market and MarketingArtisans do not have proper knowledge about the demand and supply of the market. Mostly, they operate in domestic markets and have very little idea about the demand of international customers. Lack of education curtails various opportunities from them.
4) Huge Profit for the MiddlemenMiddlemen like traders, wholesalers and businessmen earn huge profit from this market and not the artisans. Artisans may be very efficient and the master of their crafts, but they lack proper knowledge of the market, selling techniques, publicity, advertising, promotion, etc. They rely on middlemen who exploit them and take benefit of the fact that they are scattered, unorganised and helpless. The Indian handicrafts have globalised today but not the artisans.
5) Lack of Proper Organized IdentityThe Handicraft industry in India is fragmented as there is lack of unity among the artisans in fixing prices and deciding proper quality standards. This ultimately leads to lower profit margins, inferior quality of the products because of competition and price war amongst the artisans. There is a need for an organised administrative system that looks after the affairs of this industry and protects the interest of the artisans.
6) Lack of Knowledge About the Demand of the MarketAs we discussed earlier, producers of the handicraft products have very little knowledge about the market and marketing and thus, they are unable to understand the demand of the global consumers. Today’s market is extremely dynamic and demands innovations and modifications. It is very important for artisans to produce newly designed products according to the tastes and preferences of the customers.
7) No Knowledge About the ExportsArtisans do not have proper knowledge about the export system. They rely on middlemen who take undue advantage of this fact and exploit them. Lack of awareness about the exports is a major reason why India contributes a staggering low 1.2% of the total share of handicrafts across the globe.
8) Lack of Promotion of HandicraftsDespite being exquisite and of premium quality, Indian handicrafts lack proper promotion in the international market. This can only be achieved through adequate tools of advertising, events, and sales promotion. Government needs to tie hands with private players to promote handicrafts internationally.
Current Scenario of the Indian Handicraft Industry
The Indian handicrafts industry today is worth more than US $100 billion. According to the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), exports from India increased by almost per cent year-on-year to US $3.39 billion in FY20.
From India, export of handicrafts from various segments during April 2020 to March 2021 stood as below:
- Woodwares at US$ 845.51 million
- Embroidered & crocheted goods at US$ 604.38 million
- Art metal wares at US$ 468.66 million
- Hand Printed textiles and scarves at US$ 339.03 million
- Imitation jewellery at US$ 186.65 million
- Miscellaneous handicrafts at US$ 826.68 million
- Indian handicrafts are exported across the globe, with the top 10 destinations being the US, the UK, the UAE, Germany, France, Latin American Countries (LAC), Italy, Netherlands, Canada, and Australia.
- The Government of India has increased incentive rates under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) from 5% to 7% for handicrafts items which will greatly help exporters to recover the input cost involved in the production of handicrafts and will lead to competitive pricing and help in boosting exports.
- The Ministry of Textiles in the month of September 2020, approved a fund of Rs 2.8 crore for the integrated project for development and promotion of handicrafts of Varanasi. This was done to overcome the hardships faced by the artisans in the Covid crisis. [Source: Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts]
- Despite being the industry that was worst hit during the Covid pandemic, its exports have increased. However, to reinstate this industry to its previous glory, numerous developments need to be made. At the base, artisans of this sector should understand their rights and worth. Other than that, increased focus on sustainability and international market opportunities should be looked after. There is an urgent need to integrate the efforts of these artisans with technology which will help drive India’s handicrafts’ future growth.
Craftezy’s Role in Increasing Global Market Share of Indian Handicrafts
- Craftezy is an online platform which works on a commission-based model where a user is charged a minimal fee for each transaction. This empowers suppliers and artisans from across the country to join in and provide the best handicrafts with no added cost.
- Craftezy ensures that these suppliers are verified and trusted and the products they supply are 100% authentic and of premium quality.
- The company has a very user-friendly platform which provides access to the buyers and understands their needs in detail.
- It finds suitable vendors, negotiates with them on the behalf of the buyer and offers final quotations to save all the time of the buyers and make their process hassle free.
- The company acts as mediators between artisans and the customers by helping artisans in negotiating with the buyers, helping them with the process of logistics, so they do not have to worry about shipping and also provide them with suitable payment options, so they can select the option that best suits them.
- For buyers, Craftezy ensures that the products supplied are 100% authentic and of premium quality, timely deliveries are made and the entire process of negotiating with the suppliers for prices becomes hassle-free.
- Craftezy encompasses everything starting from logistics, data analytics, stack logins, sales marketing and so on.
- The company has been researching extensively starting from its formative year and talking with big players to know about the roots of this industry and thereby improve upon it. Company has built a niche market where it focuses only in the handicraft industry and not any other verticals.
Business today has become very dynamic and thus it is very important to stay relevant in these changing times with the updated technology. Craftezy provides various virtual trade shows through their online platform where buyers and sellers can meet, check out handicrafts, compare options, and negotiate for the best prices.
Craftezy provides better rates at scale without taking any commissions by partnering with third-party companies and fulfils orders. The revenue channels of the company are the same for both domestic and international market- commission based. The online platform handles everything from product discovery to sourcing to negotiations to logistics and is a one stop platform for both the buyers and the sellers of handicrafts.
Craftezy’s Future Plans for Indian Handicraft Market to Increase its Share Globally
Looking globally, the handicrafts industry market stood at US $647.57 billion in 2020, with the Indian market alone contributing to around US $100 billion, which shows the immense potential of Indian handicrafts. New-age companies like Craftezy are playing a vital role in increasing India’s market share globally by bringing technological prowess and expertise to the grassroots and providing access to digital markets. Craftezy is looking towards bringing artisans to the forefront of the conversation so that there is a greater appreciation and acceptance of the Indian handicrafts. Efforts by the Indian government to promote swadeshi products in the last couple of years along with macroscopic factors aiding in this direction, the industry is expected to see massive growth in the coming years.