How e-commerce is boosting handicraft industry in India?

How e-commerce is boosting handicraft industry in India?

Handicraft reflects the culture and skill of local population and hence the country. India is one of the most sought after destinations for handicraft due to variation in culture and people who produce varied kinds of handicraft. Different places in India are famous for different handicrafts like Saharanpur for its wooden articles, the North Western state of Rajasthan for Jaipuri quilts, Gujarat for embroidered stuff, Narsapur for lace and lace material, Punjab for Phulkari, Jodhpur for wrought iron product etc. Handicraft industry is one of the biggest employers in rural India. Near about 13 million artisans mostly women and people from weaker sections of the society get job in this industry. Many artisans work on full time and many on part time basis to produce these goods with hands. Low initial investment, potential for export and foreign earning are few of the factors which are helping this industry to grow further. But Indian handicraft industry is highly decentralized.

Handicraft market in India is growing at a very steady pace. It is almost doubling in every five years. In the handmade products India enjoys 2% of share at global level. Because of weak market forces and fake products near about 7-10 people leave this job to explore other opportunities.

Handicraft export promotion in India is handled by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH). Industry experts believe that global trade now depends upon more on ecommerce along with traditional medium for trading.

Though there is no standard definition of e-commerce but the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) defines e-commerce transactions – “the sale or purchase of goods or services, whether between businesses, households, individuals, governments, and other public or private organisations, conducted over computer-mediated networks. The goods and services are ordered over those networks, but the payment and the ultimate delivery of the good or service may be conducted on or off-line.”

India is one of the largest users of Internet across the world and expected to cross US in the coming years. Hence e-commerce has huge hidden and untapped opportunities for the businesses as well as local artisans. It has changed the way business is done and transacted by providing a global marketplace. Ecommerce present a great marketing platform to the domestically produced products. It also provides scope for the expansion to the exporters.

The much widened gap between artisanal clusters in India and the potential market is covered by ecommerce websites.

Business to Consumer (B2C) – Here an enterprise sell handicrafts directly to the consumer.

Business to Business (B2B) – Here enterprises increase the sale of their wholesale products and such B2B websites are for manufacturers and suppliers of different products.

Business to government (B2G) – Here business houses directly deal with government offices.

India’s cultural diversity provides remarkable art and craft products. Total worth of the Indian handicraft industry across the globe is US $ 100 billion. In the world’s handicraft, market share of India is 1.2%. Carpets, woodware, bamboo products, marble sculpture, bronze sculpture, leather products, paintings, zari goods, embroidered goods and jewelry are few of the most desired handicraft products from India.

Rising demand of Indian handicrafts in US, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy etc provide great opportunity. Each industry need handicraft such as fashion industry, real estate, home décor etc.

For Internet tech savvy buyers online is the easiest way to find and shop for various handicrafts. Also ecommerce is one of the most promising channels in today’s marketing scenario for selling handicrafts. It makes sure easy availability of goods at global level.

Social Media based marketing of Handicraft

People use social media by engaging, communicating, sharing and exchanging information and create highly interactive communities. It has also been found out that Internet users spend most of their time on social media. Seeing so much potential of this untapped world, firms are coming up with innovative ways to capture the mood of people on social media.  According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) online retailing is just 8% of India’s total e-commerce market but it is developing very quickly. Soon it will attain a very big status in India. Consumers get cheap and attractive deals. They can compare various products online.

As per 2012 data, most of the ecommerce companies in India are yet to begin making money. Most of the companies need to work on the security front because of payment involved. But increasing broadband and 3G Internet, increasing standard of living, changing lifestyle, and more online market places are giving boost to online handicraft industry in India.