India Sourcing Network

Sourcing From India – What Amazon FBA Sellers Need To Know​

Sourcing from India - What Amazon FBA Sellers Need to Know

Many Amazon and eCommerce private label sellers are looking to India to source products in order to diversify their supply chains.  Read on to learn more about the opportunities and pitfalls of buying products from India.

Small and midsize factories dominate

While China manufactures at scale, in India most factories are small and midsize. The government too favours SMEs and the country’s regulations are designed to protect them.

There are also tons of large enterprises, and these are mostly in industries such as apparel, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, electronic components, auto & parts.
For most products relevant for private label sellers, the manufacturers would be smaller factories. Many factories are family-run businesses so don’t be surprised to see two generations attend a meeting with you if you visit their factory.

Small orders are accepted

Suppliers are usually willing to cater to small orders, sometimes as low as 20 pieces. They may charge a slightly higher price for smaller orders. 

This is definitely a huge advantage for Amazon sellers, especially if you’re just starting out with a small budget or if you are an experienced seller and want to test a new product line. 

You’ll find unique products

There are specific product categories that are ideal to source from India.

India manufacturers put in significant effort into design development, and offer unique and innovative product designs. In addition, the country has a large variety of indigenous styles of handicrafts that cannot be found in other countries. 
India is the preferred source for cotton textiles and cotton-based products such as apparel, fashion accessories and furnishings. The country is the world’s largest producer of cotton and accounts for 26 percent of global production.

Here are a few key categories Amazon sellers can source from India: 

Home décor and home products:

– Houseware, tableware, kitchenware
– Lawn and garden ornaments & accessories  
– Lamps and lighting  
– Furniture  
– Home furnishings and made-ups  
– Carpets, rugs & floorings 
– Jewelry and accessories  
– Bags  
– Scarves 
– Precious gemstones 
– Garments
– Furnishings 
– Cushion covers 
Eco-friendly products: 
– Cane, bamboo fiber, natural & eco-friendly products
– Tea & coffee
– Spices
Gifts & stationery: 
– Christmas & festive décor 
– Candles, incense sticks, potpourri, aromatics 

– Decorative gifts (including corporate gifts) 
– Stationery and paper including handmade paper

Your IP is safe(r)

Bottle holder

In general, Indian suppliers have more respect for their buyers’ IP than typical Chinese suppliers. That doesn’t mean your IP will never ever be compromised, but it’s much less likely to happen in India than in China. 

In the unlikely situation that your supplier does infringe your IP, and if you do have a strong contract in place, it is easier to take the supplier to court as legal proceedings in India are in English and the legal system is similar to other common law countries such as the US.  

Nothing is lost in translation

English is the second official language in India, and most people you will deal with at your supplier will speak English, some of course more fluent than others.

As there are 22 languages in India, each with its unique script, English is the language that unites the country! Generally, most Indians speak two languages – their own state’s language and English. 

This is extremely advantageous when it comes to communicating with your supplier, especially when you are developing or modifying a product to private label. 

Build relationships

When sourcing from India, take the time to develop a relationship with your supplier. Similar to China, it is common for suppliers in India to take their clients out for meals or arrange trips to visit tourist locations such as Taj Mahal. 

The Indian way of life is a bit slower and relaxed. As family and professional lives are not rigidly separated, you may get questions about your family, and may ask similar questions in return.
It’s common to have small talk before you sit down for business meetings. Safe topics for small talk are politics, sports, movies and India’s rich culture. Avoid talking about religious beliefs, as well as the conflict between Pakistan and India.
Handspun fabrics from India for Amazon FBA

Hierarchy is important

Decisions are usually made at the highest level and hierarchy is important in Indian business culture. At smaller companies, decisions are typically made by the owner of the company or if it’s a larger company, by top managers, if they have been given the authority.

Day-to-day communications might become slower if your contact person needs to get authorization for various actions. 
When meeting someone face to face, introductions occur according to rank. Talk to the senior most person first, and seniority is determined by the person’s position within the company or their age. 

Monitor lead times


Infrastructure is not as developed as it is in China, but it’s not bad and efficiency is improving. 

Production delays do happen for a variety of reasons. 
As an importer, you need to monitor your delivery times closely. Unforeseen delays can happen so it’s always better to build in some buffer in your delivery times. 

Suppliers don’t have updated websites

Most Indian suppliers don’t maintain updated websites because they are afraid their designs will be copied by other suppliers!

They prefer sending their newest designs to buyers directly by email or exhibiting them at trade shows. In fact, suppliers are very protective of their designs and discourage videography and photography at trade shows. 

Production hubs specialize in specific materials

Similar to China, there are production centers for specific products in India. But while Chinese cities tend to specialize in certain product categories, Indian cities specialize in materials and offer products across different categories in those materials.

Moradabad is a city that focuses on the manufacture of all types of metal products — from home and garden décor, to hardware to cutlery. 
Similarly, Saharanpur has wooden products suppliers that make anything from gift boxes to furniture. 
Khurja is a city that focus on ceramic products, and Kanpur suppliers offer genuine leather products. 

Major trade show for Amazon sellers


The most relevant exhibition for Amazon sellers to attend is the IHGF Delhi Fair that showcases gifts and handicrafts.

This fair has been held biannually since 1994 (Spring & Autumn edition) and is organized by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts.

At India Sourcing Trip, we visit the Delhi Fair and provide guided tours by industry experts to teach attendees how to source efficiently at trade shows. 

Mix business with leisure

India is an exotic country with a rich culture and a lot to explore. There are plenty of historical places, temples, mountains and beaches. It is also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Taj Mahal.
If you do plan a sourcing trip to India, attend a trade show, visit your suppliers and then take a few days to go around and experience the country and culture.