The 100 most valuable consumer products imported into the Republic of India in 2021 generated US$194.7 billion worth of spending. That dollar amount represents 34.1% of the overall value of all Indian imported goods ($570.4 billion).
India’s spending on imported consumer goods accelerated by 137.3% compared to 2017 and expanded by 53.2% year over year from 2020.
India’s purchases of imported products–both overall and consumer–grew at a much faster pace than the global average uptick of 26.5% from 2020 to 2021 for all importing countries.
The 5 most valuable consumer products imported into India during 2021 were gold, diamonds, coal, gas and mobile phones.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by India, 95 increased in total value from 2020 to 2021 whereas just 5 declined.
Changes in Indian consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
Indian Consumer Imports Smart List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases India’s 100 most valuable imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|3||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$24,044,645,000||+57.7%||CP|
|5||Phone devices including smartphones||$12,391,532,000||+47.2%||SP|
|6||Computers, optical readers||$9,726,199,000||+65.4%||SP|
|7||Processed petroleum oils||$9,568,456,000||+86.9%||CP|
|14||Computer parts, accessories||$2,111,080,000||+76.4%||SP|
|16||Dried shelled vegetables||$2,085,739,000||+48%||CP|
|17||Electric storage batteries||$2,084,322,000||+45.8%||SY|
|18||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$1,950,480,000||+66.1%||SP|
|19||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$1,797,155,000||-5.5%||SP|
|21||Unstrung precious/semi-precious stones||$1,691,072,000||+177.7%||SY|
|27||Miscellaneous plastic items||$1,170,624,000||+272%||CP|
|28||Coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashews||$1,151,515,000||+57.2%||CP|
|30||Electric motors, not generating sets||$1,030,094,000||+169.1%||SY|
|32||Unrecorded sound media||$897,011,000||+72.6%||SP|
|34||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$867,164,000||+21.3%||SP|
|35||Hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel items||$863,788,000||+153.9%||SP|
|37||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$789,056,000||+57.9%||SP|
|39||Vulcanized rubber items||$644,202,000||+39.7%||SP|
|44||Special hand/machine tools||$558,410,000||-52.3%||SY|
|45||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$520,058,000||+35.1%||SY|
|46||Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines||$510,084,000||+115%||SY|
|47||Household base metal mountings||$488,367,000||+67.2%||SY|
|49||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$417,560,000||+57.9%||SP|
|51||Apples, pears (fresh)||$400,437,000||+4%||CP|
|53||Other organic cleaning preparations||$391,608,000||+9.9%||CP|
|54||Vulcanized rubber apparel||$382,396,000||+9.1%||SP|
|56||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$366,468,000||+60.4%||CP|
|57||Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools||$325,173,000||+46.3%||SY|
|59||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$295,562,000||+67.3%||CP|
|60||Sewing machines, related furniture||$292,562,000||+7.2%||SY|
|61||Cases, handbags, wallets||$286,578,000||+51.7%||SP|
|62||Prepared glues, adhesives||$270,330,000||+38.4%||SP|
|65||Soap, organic surface-active goods||$248,938,000||+35.8%||SP|
|67||Magnets including electro-magnets||$248,905,000||+40%||SY|
|69||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$239,850,000||+18.5%||SP|
|71||Rubber tires (new)||$227,958,000||+22.8%||SP|
|73||Wrist/pocket watches (regular case)||$213,864,000||+47.4%||SP|
|74||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$212,490,000||+60.1%||SP|
|75||Sugar (cane or beet)||$182,734,000||+56.2%||CP|
|78||Calculators, cash registers, similar||$176,973,000||+26.3%||SP|
|79||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$171,992,000||+5.9%||SP|
|81||Waters with added sugar||$161,149,000||+9.6%||CP|
|82||Miscellaneous food preparations||$157,571,000||+26.5%||CP|
|84||Sowing seeds, fruits, spores||$139,134,000||+1.2%||CP|
|85||Other pharmaceutical goods||$132,937,000||+32.6%||SP|
|86||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$123,369,000||+52.9%||CP|
|88||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$116,896,000||+66.7%||SP|
|89||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$116,426,000||+41.4%||CP|
|90||Grapes (fresh or dried)||$116,218,000||-41.1%||CP|
|91||Miscellaneous textile items||$115,275,000||+98.5%||SP|
|92||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$114,350,000||+43.9%||SP|
|93||Cinnamon, cinnamon tree flowers||$109,154,000||+42.4%||CP|
|94||Other printed pictures, photos||$105,639,000||+48.7%||SY|
|96||Insoles, heel cushions||$98,661,000||+19.5%||SP|
|98||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$96,823,000||+85.8%||SP|
|99||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$96,031,000||+29.8%||SP|
|100||Glass bottles, other containers||$94,992,000||+218.1%||SP|
The most popular product type is shopping products (SP) led by phones, computers, automobile parts or accessories, computer parts or accessories, low-voltage switches or fuses, and packaged insecticides and herbicides. Shopping products represent over two-fifths (45) of India’s top 100 imported consumer goods.
In second place via 31 entries are convenience products (CP) led by coal, gas, processed petroleum oils, palm oil, soya-bean oil, sunflower, safflower or cotton-seed oils, and dried shelled vegetables.
There were 24 speciality products (SY). Examples of speciality products are Indian imports of gold, diamonds, nitrogenous fertilizers, fertilizer mixes and silver.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, trucks, printing machinery, insulated wire or cable, and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that both shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer goods.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Coal, medications and sugar are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 69 of India’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 31 are classified as non-durable. You can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2020 to 2021. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
India’s Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into India that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2020 to 2021.
- Miscellaneous plastic items: Up 272% ($1.17 billion)
- Glass bottles, other containers: Up 218.1% ($95 million)
- Unstrung precious or semi-precious stones: Up 177.7% ($1.69 billion)
- Electric motors excluding generating sets: Up 169.1% ($1 billion)
- Items made from hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel: Up 153.9% ($863.8 million)
- Palm oil: Up 130.9% ($5 billion)
- Microphones, headphones, amplifiers: Up 121.2% ($1.2 billion)
- Dishwashers, other cleaning, drying or filling machines: Up 115% ($510.1 million)
- Miscellaneous nuts: Up 106.5% ($1.3 billion)
- Ink: Up 100% ($180.3 million)
Among the above triple-digit percentage gainers, 6 items are durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. Those 6 durable items are shopping products like miscellaneous plastic items and glass bottles or other containers, and speciality products like unstrung precious or semi-precious stones.
Such products typically require a comparatively longer time to make a buying decision compared to convenience products.
India’s Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
India’s spending on the following 5 imported items decreased at the greatest pace from 2020 to 2021.
- Special hand or machine tools: Down -52.3% ($558.4 million)
- Grapes (fresh or dried): Down -41.1% $116.2 million)
- Cars: Down -22.6% ($307.8 million)
- Packaged insecticides, herbicides: Down -5.5% ($1.8 billion)
- Dates/pineapples/mangoes/avocados: Down -1.5% ($406.5 million)
Among the India’s 5 declining imports, fresh or dried grapes and dates, pineapples, mangoes plus avocados are non-durable convenience products consumed one time and are therefore not considered as durable items.
Key Suppliers by Country
This analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target India’s demand for its top 5 consumer import products.
India’s biggest imported consumer product as measured by US-dollar value was gold in 2021. India’s 4 other leading consumer imports are diamonds, coal, petroleum gas and mobile phones.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for India’s imports of the following products.
Gold: Switzerland (48.4% of total), United Arab Emirates (12.6%), South Africa (7.4%), Guinea (5.7%), Peru (4.1%), Bolivia (3.5%), Singapore (2.9%), United States of America (2.3%), Australia (2%), and Ghana (1.8%).
Diamonds: United Arab Emirates (33.3% of total), United States of America (20.6%), Belgium (20.4%), Hong Kong (8.3%), Israel (4.5%), South Africa (3.5%), Russia (3.2%), Botswana (2.2%), Thailand (1.6%), and Japan (0.5%).
Coal: Australia (43.6% of total), Indonesia (23.2%), South Africa (10.2%), United States of America (6.9%), Russia (4.3%), Singapore (3.7%), Mozambique (2.8%), Canada (1.7%), mainland China (1.6%), and Switzerland (1%).
Gas: Qatar (35% of total), United Arab Emirates (20.2%), Saudi Arabia (10.8%), United States of America (8.9%), Kuwait (5.7%), Nigeria (3.5%), Oman (3.1%), Angola (2.6%), Egypt (1.8%), and Singapore (1.2%).
Mobile phones: mainland China (49.8% of total), Hong Kong (17.9%), Vietnam (9.9%), South Korea (3.8%), Singapore (3.3%), United States of America (3%), Taiwan (2%), Malaysia (1.9%), Mexico (1.4%), and Ireland (1.4%).
More great research: India’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, China’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, South Africa’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, US Top 100 Imported Consumer Products
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: India Economy.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Trading Economics, India Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, India’s Top 10 Imports.