I was gleaning my children’s toys strewn around the veranda of my home after they had finished playing. Even though we have inculcated good habits of keeping their room clutter-free and placing the toys neatly on their cupboard after playing but as we all know children will be children and they won’t follow the instructions completely so I decided to help them.
As I was moving my son’s tricycle to its rightful place, I reminisced about my own tricycle which was much studier than the one my son rides on, it was a shiny bright red colored beast which I rode fearlessly around the house compared to the rickety blue one my son rides on. My mind started to wonder as to how the quality of toys has deteriorated over the period of time and how cheap Chinese toys have completely swarmed the Indian market.
It is not as if we are late starters, toy manufacturing existed in India since Indus valley civilization and there is enough evidence to suggest that toys of impeccable quality were made India however we have been a laggard in the global toy industry which is estimated to be $ 90 B. India is a fringe player dominated by Chinese manufacturers.
They have glutted the world market with cheap quality Chinese toys and the Indian market is no different. Indian market is a price-sensitive market and most of people don’t care about the quality of toys which they are buying, this is precisely the reason why cheap Chinese imports have found a foothold in Indian Market.
However, things have changed for good after the clarion call given by our honorable Prime Minister to make India Atmnirbhar. Some measures have also been announced by the Government to give the domestic industry a big push. We can become a global player in the toy industry and can throw Chinese out if we adopt some of these measures.
Increasing import duties:
Our domestic industry needs some support and the Government has rightfully increased the import duty on imported toys, this will give much-needed fillip to our domestic manufacturers who were reeling under the impact of cheap Chinese imports.
It is important that Indian manufacturers market their products as quality alternatives to cheap Chinese imports which use inferior quality plastic which can have a deleterious effect on children as children are enamored of chewing everything or putting toys into their mouths. If Indian manufacturers can talk about the ill effects of such toys it will wean away from the gullible buyers of Chinese toys.
Roping in Influencers:
One of the ingenious ways to market toys is to involve storytellers. Storytelling is becoming a big business opportunity in India, it is a much-decorated industry in the western world. Brands like Funskool, Legos, Hot Wheels, and other such brands can collaborate with these storytellers who can beautifully weave stories around these brands. Events involving these professional storytellers can be organized wherein virtues of Indian toys and handicrafts can be told to children in form of stories. This will not only promote Indian culture but will also introduce over children to locally made toys and in turn promote atamnirbhar Bharat.
There are some places in India like Channapatna located in between Bengaluru and Mysore, Channapatna is a quaint little town which is much famed for producing adorable little wooden toys. These places are already known and have skilled manpower as well what they need is support from the Government to thrive and flourish. Handicrafts from these places are much popular in western countries wherein such work is valued. Westerners realize that these items are much more valuable than the stuff churned out by Chinese factories. Similar toy clusters can be developed wherein budding entrepreneurs get the right opportunity and place to showcase their talent.
Niche High-end Toy Market:
Mass Market has already been taken over by Chinese manufacturers and it is extremely difficult to penetrate into this market so the next best option for Indian Manufacturers is to get into high-end markets wherein customers are looking for quality at good price points. We have already done this with some amount of success in terms of getting handicrafts and toys. Quality conscious customers at high pricing points will gobble up the products.
The best part of online platform is that sellers don’t have to depend upon a market place to showcase or sell your product. Sellers from the remotest part of the country can use these platforms and sell their products. With ever-increasing internet penetration, it provides an excellent platform for small-time manufacturers to sell their purchases.
With 26% of the population under the age of 15 years, it is boom time for the Indian toy industry. It was worth US$ 1.5 Billion in 2018, registering a CAGR of 15.9% during the year 2011- 2018. According to market research firm IMARC, the market is further estimated to cross US$ 3.3 Billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 13.3% during 2019-2024.
With the implementation of all the above measures, India shall be in a position to leverage its strength and take strong steps towards Atmanirbhar India. Gaining a foothold in the global toy industry is no child’s play but surely worth trying.