Indian exporters should tap the CAD 18 billion Canadian retail home furnishing market, says H. E. Mr. Bisaria

“Both India and Canada are coming out of the pandemic and businesses are expressing interest to collaborate with each other. Direct flights between the two countries have resumed on October 1, 2021 and as many as 20 flights a week have started operating. We are issuing business visas to Canadian businessmen which will make it easy for Indian businessmen to invite their Canadian counterparts. At the same time, Indian entrepreneurs can explore Canadian markets”, said H. E. Mr. Ajay Bisaria, High Commissioner of India in Canada at the webinar on ‘Business Opportunities in Home Decor and Textile in Canada’. The webinar was organised jointly by World Trade Center Mumbai and High Commission of India in Canada in partnership with BC-India Business Network.

Speaking of our bilateral relations, H. E. Mr. Bisaria said, “We are seeing a positive trend in India-Canada partnership, with bilateral trade crossing the USD 10 billion mark, a couple of years ago. We have overall economic exchange of over USD 100 billion in terms of investment, trade, tourism spend, remittances etc. Many Canadians of Indian origin hold leadership positions in Canada in industry and many other sectors, and act as a resource for developing bilateral trade linkages in the India-Canada corridor.”

Explaining the impact of COVID-19 on the home furnishing market, Mr. Bisaria said, “India has set an ambitious target of USD 400 billion exports in FY 2020-21. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the home furnishing market across the world, and given rise to two trends, namely, expression of demand through ecommerce orders, and ‘work from home’ spurring demand for bigger homes, and therefore, home furnishings.”

Mr. Bisaria further expressed, “Canada, despite having a relatively small population of 38 million, has a very well developed and substantial home furnishing market. The Canadian market is a high-value quality-conscious market. The home furnishings retail market in Canada has expanded by 4 per cent to CAD 18 billion during 2020, and we expect this market growth to continue till 2025.”

He emphasized that India is a net cotton exporter, and has a competitive advantage over this key raw material. India is also strong on creative aesthetics. The availability of competitively priced labour, presence of traditional skills and natural products places Indian manufactures at a distinct advantage. The ultra-low mortgage rates in Canada will support the demand for home furnishings, and the significant growth in ecommerce will add to the same.”

Offering support to Indian SMEs, Mr. Bisaria said, “Increased consciousness about environmental and ethical considerations in Canada will create demand for organic, ethically-sourced and handcrafted products, which is complementary to Indian production patterns and strengths. Indian producers and suppliers should, therefore, leverage this opportunity to carve out a larger share of the Canadian market. Our offices will provide the necessary support to Indian businesses to assess the Canadian markets and expand here; especially, Indian SMEs need to capitalize on this opportunity through investing in new technologies and expanding their ecommerce footprint. Indian manufacturers also need to focus on design aesthetics and identifying key market trends, and enhancing skills to meet the same.”

He further remarked, “We are ready to support Indian SMEs and exporters by providing market guides on Canadian market trends and dynamics, and offering strategic advice on tapping supply chains and key networks. In addition to that, we can offer the contact list of Canadian buyers and provide advise on compliance requirements to succeed in the Canadian market, as also assist in marketing and promotion activities.”

During the programme, Mr. Anshuman Gaur, Deputy High Commissioner of India to Canada, made a presentation on the home furnishings market in Canada. He opined that LED lamps remained the top performer in home furnishings during 2020, and ‘Work from Home’ pushed demand for home office furniture. The wholesale chain in Canada should be targeted by Indian exporters, as it is a low-tapped market.

He further expressed, Canada’s favourable immigration policy will drive the housing market, and therefore, the home furnishings market in the near future. Industry operators must comply with all local, provincial and federal regulations pertaining to storing and transporting goods, occupational health and safety and environmental policy.

Mr. Gaur remarked that Canada is strategically located in North America. It is a part of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It has FTAs with almost 40 other major trading blocs, including the UK and Europe. It is also a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Earlier in his Welcome Address, Dr. Vijay Kalantri, Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai suggested, “India and Canada enjoy a strategic and diplomatic partnership. The two countries are discussing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and home decor and textiles can be a focus sector in the proposed agreement. Consumption demand for the these products in India and Canada is expected to grow significantly over the coming years, and businesses in the two countries can maximize commercial opportunities through trade, investment, technology transfer and inclusion of the MSME enterprises.”

Dr. Kalantri further remarked, “The rising demand for commercial and real estate will boost growth of the home decor and textiles market, which is also driven by changing trends and fashion. Indian manufacturers can customize products to suit Canadian climatic conditions and people’s choices and preferences. We should also encourage joint ventures in the home decor industry, and instead of exporting raw cotton, Indian companies can export fabrics and made-ups through SEZs and EOUs.”

Mr. Vivek Savkur, CEO, BC-India Business Network proposed the Vote of Thanks.

The programme was attended by members of trade and industry, academia, Consular Corps and MSMEs from India and Canada.