The home furnishing products can be broadly categorized into five categories, which include - bedding, window dressings, bathroom textiles, cushions and covers, and table linen. Household penetration levels are high, especially in the largest sectors bedding and window dressings. While replacement due to wear and tear is not inevitably frequent, an increased consumer interest in home interior products has stimulated buying in what is now very much a fashion-led industry. The industry also benefits from the growing number of households, a trend, which is expected to continue at an even faster rate.
History of Indian Home Furnishings
The roots of Indian home furnishings industry lie deep in age old traditions. Especially known for their ethnic, intricate carvings, weaves, pattern themes, motifs, color schemes and workmanship, Indian home furnishings have become popular the world across. Handcrafted ethnic home furnishings are one of the most fascinating art forms in India and lend an unmistakable grandeur to the decor.
In the world of hand looms, there are Madras checks from Tamil Nadu, tie and dye from Gujarat and Rajasthan, ikats from Andhra and Orissa, brocades from Varanasi, Daccai from West Bengal, and phulkari from Punjab. The Surat tanchoi based on a method of satin weaving with the extra weft floats, which are absorbed in the fabric itself has been reproduced in Varanasi. In the domain of Woolen textiles, woolen weaves are no less subtle. The Kashmiri weavers are known the world across for their Pashmina and Shahtoosh shawls. The states of Kashmir and Karnataka are famous for their mulberry silk. India is the only nation in the world producing all four commercially known silks - mulberry, eri, tasser (tussore) and muga. Assam produces eri and muga silk, which are gaining immense popularity in the U.S.A. and Europe. The ikat technique in India is usually known as bandha in Orissa, patola in Gujarat, pagdu bandhu, buddavasi and chitki in Andhra Pradesh.
With their ethnic, intricate carvings, weaves, pattern themes, motifs, color schemes and workmanship, Indian home furnishing products are gaining immense popularity among buyers the world across. The share of Indian exports in home textiles is increasing day by day. In 2002-03, the value of export of cotton handloom fabrics and made-ups was Rs. 544 crore, the value of export of handmade carpet and other floor coverings was of the order of Rs. 2590.26 crore and value of exports of other home furnishing products was Rs. 2633.37 crore.
Trend in value of export of cotton handloom fabrics and made-ups (1998-89-2002-03) (Rs in Crores)
|Made-Ups||(Value in Rs. Crores)|
|Toilet & Kitchen Linen||6.6||8.89||36.79||36.49||43.57|
|Bed Covers / Bed Spreads||200.07||204.11||211.93||211.01||173.67|
|Other Furnishing Articles||752.91||764.24||830.1||761.22||940.71|
|Carpet & Floor Coverings||319.75||353.44||298.31||242.83||261.02|
Export Trends of Handmade Carpets and Other Floor Coverings (1998-99 to 2002-03) in Rupees Crores
|Year||Export Performance of Carpets and Other Floor Coverings|
The future prospects for the Indian home furnishing industry are bright, especially in the post-quota regime. The industry is in an expansion mode and is expected to benefit from growing demand both in the domestic and global markets.
While exports of Indian home furnishing products has increased, profits are sliding as prices have dropped 8-20 % and the industry is on the verge of a shakeout. With importers favoring suppliers with vertical production systems rather than dispersed manufacturing facilities, Indian exporters need to shore up their mass manufacturing techniques. The major requirement is the development of infrastructure.
Labor laws also constitute a stumbling block in the growth of Indian home furnishing companies. Political conditions have prevented successive governments from instituting an exit policy. Because of this, manufacturers cannot employ short duration labor as they cannot lay them off when the world trade cycle turns. Low labor productivity is another major constraint.
On the technology front, government has initiated efforts to encourage manufacturers to go in for advanced technology. The grant has been increased for helping manufacturers in the up-gradation of technology.
While China is clearly the leading exporter in the world of home furnishings, it is not a direct competitor of India. While China mainly uses man-made fibers and caters mass markets, India produces natural fiber and serves niche markets. At present, India is leading producer of man-made fiber and raked 3 in cotton. A garment-driven and export-led strategy is expected to help the Indian market to grow to at $85 billion by 2010, according to a CRISIL report. The strategy should be focus on moving up the value chain instead of exporting intermediate stage products, say industry experts.