Stitching a growth story: Sewing machines' demand rises

Stitching together a growth story: Sewing machines see rise in demand

In spite of the sector growing, however, according to the report, challenges remain for the industry with closure of manufacturing facilities

Representative Image. Credit: Pixabay Photo

The size of the market for sewing machines in India has been expanding in recent years, with order books full and the government pumping in investments to the tune of $1 billion in the last 5 years. Listed player in the space – Singer India’s cumulative net profit for HY FY22 rose 77 per cent YoY and the revenue clocked in at a handsome 74 per cent growth in Q2 QoQ.

In fact, the market size of the Indian sewing machines industry is estimated to reach $50.8 million in 2021, which was $47 million in 2020, according to a research firm Fortune Business Insights. This increase is specifically due to the swelling demand for fabric by industrial and domestic end-users. Investments to the tune of $1 billion in the last six years in initiatives such as the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme & the Integrated Textile Parks are the key proponents.

For instance, the centre had notified, in October, the setting up of 7 mega textile parks which would lead to the generation of over a lakh direct and over two lakh indirect jobs. India has invested approximately $185 million in the Integrated Textile Parks and roughly $961 million in the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme between FY 2015-16 and FY 2019-20, according to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the country’s export promotion agency. Investments in the sector has boosted installation of sewing machines across applications, according to the report.

“The demand is robust and our order books are full. So, when the 7 mega textile parks project takes off, the sector will witness tremendous growth”, said an apparel exporter to DH, registered with the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI).

Singer India’s cumulative net profit for the current fiscal’s half-year was Rs 2.67 crores, recovering post the second wave of the pandemic. “The management is aggressively working on accelerating the growth rate of the company’s businesses both in sewing machines and home appliances”, said Rajeev Bajaj, Managing Director, Singer India, in a statement.

Usha International says it has a leadership position in the new technologies emerging like white machines. “We are developing new and innovative sewing machines to fulfill the changing needs and demands of consumers. Some of our models are iPad and WiFi enabled and come with user-friendly embroidery designing software”, said Parveen Kumarr Sahni, President - Sewing Machines Business, Usha International. Adding that some new age machines have features like LED touch screen for design selection, onboard editing, etc,.

Digital revolution in recent years has triggered integration of the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing in the nature of enterprise value chains. Innovations such as the pedal-less machines, voice guide machines, automatic zigzag machines and machines with USB ports are some of the technologies that have grabbed customer attention.

One such segment from the sector which has witnessed double-digit growth is the automatic zigzag machines. Usha International, Singer India and Brother are the leading manufacturers in this vertical. Accuracy, speed and flexibility of the sewing machines for manufacturing purposes has also led to the growing demand, according the report.

In spite of the sector growing, however, according to the report, challenges remain for the industry with closure of manufacturing facilities, disrupted supply chains and reduction in demand of apparels due to the pandemic.

“A major pain point is that industrial grade sewing machines are not manufactured in India, and hence, we are entirely dependent upon China. Government should not just bring in place a policy for production but also fund research and development as India is losing out to our northern neighbour with our market share dwindling in Asia”, said Inderjit Singh, President of Sewing Machine Dealers & Assemblers Association, an umbrella organization of over 300 industry players.

He explained that innovation has to be incentivised as MSMEs do not have the wherewithal to spend on R&D, with most of them operating on a thin margin. The pandemic gave a boost to sewing machines used by households since masks were sewn throughout the country, explains Singh.

The companies, nonetheless, are optimistic about increased sales with ongoing market conditions and as a result, the India sewing machine market is projected to witness strong growth in the future.

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