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Exports From Indian Sports Goods Industry Can Reach $500 Million Mark: Exim Bank Study

The report opined that the Government of India’s focus on Atmanirbhar Bharat and the untapped potential in the sports goods sector can help India achieve the milestone of $500 million

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"Indoor games, especially racket games, saw robust demand in India during the period"

In a recent report released by the India Exim Bank, the Indian sports goods industry has an untapped potential of $227.4 million. It can reach $500 million if the potential is tapped effectively. According to the report, this is the appropriate time for India to push for appropriate reforms and improve export competitiveness.

The report was released on 21st August 2021, by Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman during a function for the launch of the Ubharte Sitaare Fund. The function was jointly organised by India Exim Bank and SIDBI in Lucknow.

The study was conducted to analyse the global and Indian sports goods industry. The report mentioned the Global Wellness Institute’s findings as well. It said that the per capita consumer spending on sports stands at $90 per year, signifying a huge potential.

The cities of Jalandhar and Meerut were specifically mentioned in the report as “the key centres of production” in India. They produced two-third of the total sports goods produced in India. Exports of Indian sports goods, between 2010 and 2019, recorded a growth rate of 5.9 per cent from $166.1 million to $278.9 million. India is the third-largest Asian manufacturer just after China and Japan, the study said.

“Athletics and gymnasium equipment was the largest category of sports goods exports from India in 2019-20,” the report said. Athletics and gymnasium equipment accounted for nearly 37.7 per cent of the total sports goods exported from the country. It was followed by festive articles and tennis and other balls.


Impact of Covid-19 

Due to Covid-19 induced lockdowns, sports goods trade in India in April 2020 recorded a huge decline of 86.3 per cent on a year-on-year basis. In the financial year 2020-2021, exports of the whole sports sector declined by 3.7 per cent and imports declined by 4 per cent.  

The pandemic impacted the sales and exports of outdoor sports. The demand declined due to restrictions. On the other hand, Indoor games, especially racket games, saw robust demand in India during the period. The report further stated, “…increasing vaccination rates and organisation of postponed international sports events are likely to fuel the demand for outdoor sports goods in the short to medium term.”


Kashmir Willow Bats and GI

The report laid special focus on the Kashmir Willow bats. These bats come around 20 times cheaper in the international market than their counterparts like English willow. The study suggested that getting a Geographical Indicator tag to the Kashmir bats can help India increase their revenue exponentially.

The GI tag can also help the local manufacturers to grow and flourish. According to the report, “A repository of information about companies/artisans involved in production and exports of Kashmir Willow bats could be maintained by the certifying body, to ensure quality and uniqueness of the product.”


Some suggestions in the report

The report further suggested some ways to enhance the sports goods exports. These include diversifying the products, reducing the inefficiencies and bottlenecks like duties etc., building the products of the international standard, promoting sports tourism in participatory as well as spectator sports and increasing the focus on research and development.


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