Sri Lanka’s 100 Top Imported Consumer Products by Sales

An island nation in South Asia, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka was formerly called Ceylon. Sri Lanka is located near its two biggest trading partners China and India.

With a population of 22 million people, Sri Lanka offers a consumer marketplace with intriguing potential. Sri Lanka has the world’s 56th richest economy, generating a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on a Purchasing Power Parity basis worth US$311.2 billion as of October 2021.

Sri Lanka has 2 official languages, Sinhala and Tamil. English is considered a link language in Sri Lanka, fluently spoken by about a quarter of all Sri Lankans and with English translations appearing as the third entry on most road signs.

Sri Lanka’s demand for imported consumer goods in 2020 resulted in a subtotal US$6.9 billion worth of Sri Lankan spending on the 100 most valuable consumer imports identified in this article.

That consumer-driven dollar amount translates to 44.5% of the overall value of all goods imported into Sri Lanka. Spending on all Sri Lankan imports, including raw materials, intermediate products and semi-finished goods, totaled an estimated overall $15.6 billion in 2020.

Among Sri Lanka’s most valuable imported consumer products in 2020 are: processed petroleum oils; medications; phone devices including smartphones; wide-knit or crocheted fabrics; and concentrated or sweetened milk and cream.

Spending on all of Sri Lanka’s imported goods declined by -19.9% from 2019 to 2020. Sri Lanka’s purchases focused on its top 100 consumer imports decreased in value by an even more aggressive -21.2% over the latest annual period.

The deceleration in Sri Lankan spending for key imported consumer products exceeded the global average from 2019 to 2020, which was an average drop of -8.2% for all importing countries around the world.

Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Sri Lanka, 33 increased in total value from 2019 to 2020 whereas the remaining 67 declined.

Changes in Sri Lankan 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.

Speciality 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.

Sri Lanka’s Most Valuable Imported Convenience Products

The list below showcases the most valuable imported convenience products on which buyers in Sri Lanka spent the most. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level and are presented in descending order.

You can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020 by focusing on the percentages displayed to the right of each product name.

  1. Processed petroleum oils: US$1,165,695,000 (down -46.1%)
  2. Medications: $419,140,000 (up 8.0%)
  3. Concentrated/sweetened milk: $316,290,000 (up 8.0%)
  4. Petroleum gas: $276,785,000 (up 13.2%)
  5. Sugar (cane or beet): $264,876,000 (up 41.1%)
  6. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $216,509,000 (up 0.2%)
  7. Dried shelled vegetables: $159,005,000 (up 10.5%)
  8. Onions, garlic, leeks: $148,785,000 (up 19.7%)
  9. Dried or salted fish: $103,710,000 (up 12.6%)
  10. Uncoated paper for writing/printing: $96,424,000 (down -23.2%)
  11. Peppers: $95,037,000 (up 13.7%)
  12. Palm oil: $89,307,000 (down -3.5%)
  13. Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared): $58,099,000 (down -23.9%)
  14. Malt extract, food preparations: $50,744,000 (up 14.7%)
  15. Other food preparations: $50,280,000 (down -6.2%)
  16. Miscellaneous plastic items: $44,218,000 (down -12.6%)
  17. Potatoes: $42,710,000 (up 19.6%)
  18. Provitamins, vitamins: $42,015,000 (down -3.8%)
  19. Plastic packing goods, lids, caps: $35,248,000 (down -16.1%)
  20. Other organic cleaning preparations: $34,639,000 (down -4.5%)
  21. Whole fish (frozen): $23,792,000 (down -36.3%)
  22. Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs): $19,454,000 (down -58.7%)
  23. Apples, pears (fresh): $16,025,000 (down -30.8%)
  24. Tea (including flavored): $15,525,000 (down -17.1%)
  25. Corn: $14,239,000 (down -51.4%)
  26. Margarine: $14,168,000 (up 7.2%)
  27. Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners: $13,201,000 (up 18.5%)
  28. Cheese, curd: $13,187,000 (up 4.2%)
  29. Plastic wares (table, kitchen, toiletry): $13,103,000 (down -24.0%)
  30. Grapes (fresh or dried): $12,792,000 (down -30.5%)
  31. Sowing seeds, fruits, spores: $11,668,000 (up 14.5%)
  32. Miscellaneous vegetable products: $10,583,000 (up 47.8%)
  33. Rice: $10,450,000 (down -18.5%)
  34. Dates/pineapples/mango/avocado: $10,091,000 (up 9.7%)
  35. Antibiotics: $9,076,000 (up 22.4%)

Convenience products led by the products listed above represent the Asian country’s second-most popular import product type attracting Sri Lanka’s international spending behind shopping products but ahead of speciality goods.

Non-durable consumer products are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Alcoholic beverages and bananas are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.

Sri Lanka’s Most Valuable Imported Shopping Products

Below, the list highlights the most valuable imported shopping products on which buyers in Sri Lanka spent the greatest amounts. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level and are presented from highest to lowest total amounts.

The percentages displayed to the right of each product name reveal the highest increases or decreases in Sri Lankan spending on that specific type of shopping product from 2019 to 2020.

  1. Phones: US$407,583,000 (down -7.8%)
  2. Wide knit or crochet fabrics: $323,515,000 (down -5.5%)
  3. Cars: $236,812,000 (down -63.5%)
  4. Computers, optical readers: $157,445,000 (up 3.5%)
  5. Trucks: $136,591,000 (down -46.0%)
  6. Packaged insecticides, herbicides: $64,738,000 (up 22.9%)
  7. Electrical converters/power units: $62,340,000 (down -12.2%)
  8. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $58,745,000 (down -7.0%)
  9. Motorcycles: $52,945,000 (down -73.8%)
  10. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $51,860,000 (up 2.6%)
  11. Automobile parts/accessories: $47,559,000 (down -19.9%)
  12. Printing machinery: $47,477,000 (down -9.9%)
  13. Tractors: $46,750,000 (up 16.6%)
  14. Insulated wire/cable: $46,313,000 (down -20.4%)
  15. Miscellaneous iron or steel items: $43,425,000 (up 11.7%)
  16. Rubber tires (new): $35,103,000 (down -39.8%)
  17. Hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel items: $33,215,000 (down -17.8%)
  18. Orthopedic appliances: $32,389,000 (down -11.3%)
  19. Bras, corsets (unknit/non-crochet): $31,095,000 (down -24.3%)
  20. Unrecorded sound media: $28,059,000 (down -22.6%)
  21. Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins: $25,033,000 (down -23.6%)
  22. Miscellaneous textile items: $23,721,000 (up 711.5%)
  23. Vulcanized rubber items: $21,973,000 (down -19.0%)
  24. Women’s clothing (not knit/crochet): $21,315,000 (down -43.0%)
  25. Electric lamps: $16,108,000 (down -12.2%)
  26. Linens: $15,048,000 (down -32.3%)
  27. Prepared glues, adhesives: $15,006,000 (down -11.1%)
  28. Computer parts, accessories: $14,148,000 (up 0.7%)
  29. Fish or meat flours, pellets: $14,003,000 (up 5.8%)
  30. Other pharmaceutical goods: $13,508,000 (up 4.3%)
  31. Miscellaneous furniture: $13,466,000 (down -30.3%)
  32. Paints, varnishes: $13,252,000 (down -13.9%)
  33. Aluminum foil: $13,205,000 (up 35.0%)
  34. Men’s suits (unknit/non-crochet): $12,532,000 (down -52.8%)
  35. Sports equipment: $11,794,000 (down -9.6%)
  36. Caps, lids, corks, pouring stoppers: $11,608,000 (up 4.8%)
  37. Soap, organic surface-active goods: $11,483,000 (up 18.7%)
  38. Paper containers, cellulose wadding: $10,861,000 (down -12.6%)
  39. Lubricant/anti-rust preparations: $8,319,000 (down -8.8%)
  40. Women’s shirts (not knit or crochet): $7,806,000 (down -36.4%)
  41. Glass bottles, other containers: $7,798,000 (down -7.1%)
  42. Footwear (leather): $7,569,000 (down -25.4%)
  43. Microphones/headphones/amps: $7,548,000 (down -4.6%)
  44. Printed books, brochures: $7,499,000 (down -46.2%)

Focusing on the scope of this analysis, shopping products is Sri Lanka’s most popular category ahead of both convenience products and speciality items.

Shopping products exceeded two-fifths (44) of the overall top 100 Sri Lankan imported consumer goods.

Durable consumer products are goods like cars, refrigerators and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. Note that shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer products.

Sri Lanka’s Most Valuable Imported Speciality Products

Speciality products represent the category with the fewest entries among Sri Lanka’s imports that attracted the country’s spending on imported consumer goods during 2020.

Selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level, the most valuable speciality items are listed in descending order below.

The percentage to the right of each product name reveal highest increases or decreases in 2020 compared to 2019.

  1. Nitrogenous fertilizers: US$172,012,000 (up 31.6%)
  2. Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $83,258,000 (down -31.2%)
  3. Potassic fertilizers: $53,319,000 (down -4.6%)
  4. Refrigerators, freezers: $50,962,000 (down -7.9%)
  5. Air conditioners: $48,264,000 (down -16.2%)
  6. Electric generating sets, converters: $42,256,000 (down -35.1%)
  7. Sewing machines, related furniture: $40,060,000 (down -31.8%)
  8. Electric storage batteries: $35,916,000 (down -3.1%)
  9. Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines: $34,658,000 (down -14.2%)
  10. Liquid pumps: $31,738,000 (down -31.4%)
  11. Temperature-change machines: $30,779,000 (down -24.5%)
  12. Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $25,561,000 (down -7.5%)
  13. Prefabricated buildings: $22,843,000 (down -9.8%)
  14. Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung): $19,705,000 (down -65.2%)
  15. Household base metal mountings: $14,091,000 (down -16.7%)
  16. Fertilizer mixes: $11,419,000 (up 18.1%)
  17. Washing machines: $9,264,000 (down -32.4%)
  18. Gold (unwrought): $8,622,000 (up 238.3%)
  19. Iron/steel stoves, barbecues: $8,383,000 (down -11.1%)
  20. Electromechanic appliances: $7,448,000 (down -23.7%)
  21. Compasses, other navigational aids: $7,399,000 (down -10.6%)

Like shopping products, speciality products are considered as durable consumer products. Based on the product types identified in the sections above, 65 of Sri Lanka’s 100 highest-value consumer shopper plus speciality products are durable while the remaining 35 convenience products are classified as non-durable.

Sri Lanka’s Overall Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports

Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Sri Lanka that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.

  1. Miscellaneous textile items: Up 711.5% (US$23.7 million)
  2. Gold (unwrought): Up 238.3% ($8.6 million)
  3. Miscellaneous vegetable products: Up 47.8% ($10.6 million)
  4. Sugar (cane or beet): Up 41.1% ($264.9 million) 
  5. Aluminum foil: Up 35% ($13.2 million)
  6. Nitrogenous fertilizers: Up 31.6% ($172 million)
  7. Packaged insecticides, herbicides: Up 22.9% ($64.7 million)
  8. Antibiotics: Up 22.4% ($9.1 million)
  9. Onions, garlic, leeks: Up 19.7% ($148.8 million)
  10. Potatoes: Up 19.6% ($42.7 million)

Two among the above top 10 gainers are speciality products and therefore also durable good that consumers can store or re-use over time. Those speciality products are gold and nitrogenous fertilizers.

There are 3 fastest-growers that we categorize as imported shopping products. These are miscellaneous textile items, aluminum foil, and packaged insecticides or herbicides.

The remaining 5 front-runners are considered as one-time usage (non-durable) imported convenience products. These growth leaders are miscellaneous vegetable products; sugar; antibiotics; onions, garlic and leeks; and potatoes.

Sri Lanka’s Overall Worst-Declining Consumer Imports

Spending by import buyers in Sri Lanka on the following 10 items decreased in value by the highest percentages from 2019 to 2020.

  1. Motorcycles: Down -73.8% (US$52.9 million)
  2. Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung): Down -65.2% ($19.7 million)
  3. Cars: Down -63.5% ($236.8 million)
  4. Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs): Down -58.7% ($19.5 million)
  5. Men’s suits (not knit nor crocheted): Down -52.8% ($12.5 million)
  6. Corn: Down -51.4% ($14.2 million)
  7. Printed books, brochures: Down -46.2% ($7.5 million)
  8. Processed petroleum oils: Down -46.1% ($1.2 billion)
  9. Trucks: Down -46% ($136.6 million)
  10. Women’s clothing (not knit nor crocheted): Down -43% ($21.3 million)

Six categories among Sri Lanka’s top 10 severest decliners are durable shopping products used over a period of time. The severest slippages among those categories were for Sri Lanka’s imported motorcycles; cars; unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits; printed books or brochures; trucks; and unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing.

There were 3 items categorized as convenience products among Sri Lanka’s 10 major import decliners from 2019 to 2020, namely spirits and liqueurs; corn; and processed petroleum oils.

The worst decline among durable speciality goods was for unstrung precious or semi-precious stones.

Key Product Suppliers by Country

The following analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target demand for 5 of Sri Lanka’s top consumer import products.

Sri Lanka’s biggest imported consumer product by value is processed petroleum oils.  The other 4 leading consumer goods imported into Sri Lanka are medications, phone devices including smartphones, wide knitted or crocheted fabrics and concentrated or sweetened milk and cream.

Below, you will find major supplying countries for Sri Lanka’s imported:

Processed petroleum oils: Singapore (33.5% of total), Malaysia (18.9%), India (18.8%), United Arab Emirates (12.9%), Saudi Arabia (4.8%), Oman (2.7%), Bahrain (1.9%), Netherlands (1.7%), Kuwait (1.4%), and China (1.2%).

Medications: India (54.4% of total), Pakistan (6.7%), Bangladesh (5.7%), France (4.8%), Germany (4.2%), Indonesia (3.1%), China (2.35%), United States (2.3%), Denmark (1.78%), and the United Kingdom (1.77%).

Phone devices including smartphones: China (75.5% of total), Vietnam (14.7%), India (3.4%), Singapore (2%), United States (0.8%), Hong Kong (0.62%) and Malaysia (0.58%).

Wide knitted or crocheted fabrics: China (35% of total), India (26.4%), Italy (14%), Taiwan (13.8%), Vietnam (2.8%), South Korea (1.2%), Germany (1.1%), Serbia (1.08%), Hong Kong (1.03%), and Pakistan (1%).

Concentrated or sweetened milk and cream: New Zealand (92.2% of total), United States (2.4%), Australia (2.1%), Netherlands (1.5%), United Kingdom (0.7%), Belgium (0.6%) and Canada (0.3%).

See also

More great research: Netherlands 100 Most Valuable Imported Consumer Products, Bangladesh’s 100 Most Valuable Imported Consumer Products, United Kingdom’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Denmark’s 100 Most Imported Consumer Products, Sweden’s Top Imported Consumer Products Ranked by Value


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: Sri Lanka Economy.

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.

International Trade Centre, Trade Map.

Investopedia, Consumer Goods, Consumer Staples Definition, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).

Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP.

Trading Economics, Sri Lanka Consumer Spending.

Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.

Wikipedia, Sri Lanka, Geography of Sri Lanka, Languages of Sri Lanka.

World’s Top Exports, Sri Lanka’s Top 10 Imports.

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