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Published on: Oct. 18, 2021, 12:05 p.m.
Toying with fresh ideas
  • Toys have been an integral part of Indian culture and heritage

By Arbind Gupta. Assistant Editor, Business India

The Indian toy market, which is currently estimated at $1 billion, has the potential to double itself by 2025, according to a FICCI-KPMG report.

While presenting a detailed overview of the Indian toy industry focusing both on demand and supply-side measures needed to make India a global toy manufacturing hub, the report ‘State of play: India’s toy story – Unboxing fun and beyond,’ says that India could also target a 2 per cent share of global exports by 2025. There is high growth potential for India in exports of plastic toys and board games in the US, EU and Middle East among other markets. 

Currently, mere 15 per cent of the toys demand is met indigenously, while 85 per cent is imported from countries like China, Malaysia, Netherlands and the US. The report says that as the country gears up to leverage the potential through well laid out policy measures and action plan, the over dependency on imports can be reduced to 60 per cent. 

The report has prescribed measures like phased manufacturing programme, implementation of a dedicated policy, and simplification of mandatory compliances for promoting the country’s toy industry towards doubling the market size. It states that whereas globalisation has expanded market access for raw materials and finished goods, the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of global firms procuring from a single source market. The established need for de-risking supply chains has presented India with another opportunity to embrace its heritage and inherent advantages in skill and technology to become a global player in the industry.

 Important information

 “For a child to develop, it is important that play is integral to his/her life. The toy industry has a critical role in bringing play to every child of every strata in India, by delivering quality toys at affordable price points. This report provides an important information foundation on a hitherto unorganised industry which can be revolutionised into a large innovative and organised industry that meets the needs of children not only in India, but throughout the world,” says Vivek Jhangiani, Chairman, FICCI Toy sector Committee and Past president, The All India Toy Manufacturers Association. 

“Toys have been an integral part of Indian culture and heritage. While the desire to play is as unabated today as ever before, the global toy industry has come a long way. The nature and techniques of play are fast evolving, keeping pace with changes in technology and market demands. Toys categories such as dolls, soft toys, baby & infant and pre-school are highly labour-intensive with good potential for manufacturing capabilities in India and easy to penetrate the export market, except for items that require decorations and similar value additions where the productivity levels are significantly lower (30-40 per cent) than China,” says the FICCI-KPMG report. It has also suggested the development of toy design centres, with a focus on R&D to encourage innovation; leveraging National Education Policy 2020 to push local artisans, and increasing the number of labs for the toy sector.

“Toys have been an integral part of our culture since the beginning of civilization. However, the Indian toy industry is yet to realise its true potential of becoming a global phenomenon. For Make in India toys to succeed in domestic and international markets it is critical to support Design in India and Innovate in India,” says Preeti Sitaram, Director, Government & Public Services, KPMG in India.

The report also says that the need for de-risking supply chains has presented India with another opportunity to embrace its heritage and inherent advantages in skill and technology to become a global player in the industry. The global toy market is currently pegged at around $95 billion where Indian exports contribute merely $220 million.

“Beyond supporting livelihoods and children’s right to play, toys are also an essential pedagogical tool, making them an integral part of our national identity. Affordability and quality are key to propelling the growth of the Indian toy industry. The report reveals how the business of play can evolve to make India a global toyconomy,” says Mohit Bhasin, Partner, Government & Public Services, KPMG in India. 

The report observed that digital and technology advancement in toys is leading to rising application of Artificial Intelligence, especially in STEM Toys. India has limited manufacturing capability in battery operated, electronic and technology-based toys but can be scaled up in medium to long-term period. Labour-intensive sub-segments constituting 50-60 per cent of toys market can scale up immediately in India, giving an indigenisation push to these segments which could, therefore, provide enormous impetus to job creation. There is also a significant scope for growth in gross value addition with inclusion of unregistered units in India.

“States across the country are spearheading initiatives to nurture toy manufacturing ecosystems as well as developing and marketing new toy clusters, heralding a significant change in domestic toy manufacturing. Promoting quality toys and maintaining the affordability of those quality products are the two key pillars. The desired model for India is to incentivise global as well as domestic players to build end-to-end, integrated manufacturing facilities,” says the report which has also suggested a nodal agency, a one-stop shop like National Creative Hub (C-Hub), strategic tie-ups with global players to leverage science, technology, engineering, art, and math toys. Besides, there is also a need for JVs and technical collaborations with international companies for current manufacturing and to develop an ecosystem of suppliers.

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