Top 20 Export Business Ideas in India 2023 & How To Start It

India’s import-export market is expanding opportunities and contributing to shaping the country’s growth. Our export and import trade accounts for roughly 20% of our GDP. Despite the global economic downturn, India’s export market has experienced a steady rise in the last few years. That is why starting an import export business in India is a great way to tap into the country’s robust economy and growing consumer base. However, it is essential to understand the export business ideas, regulations and processes before beginning.

In order to help you with that, we’ve created a comprehensive guide for export businesses in India and how much money is needed to start a import export business in India. This blog will cover everything from the top export businesses in India to reasons to start an export business and export business ideas for starting an export business.

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What Is an Import Export Business?

When goods and services are produced in one country and then sold to another country, that is called import-export business. The country that will manufacture or produce the products and sell them to another country is called the exporting country, and the country that will buy the goods and services from another country is called the importing country. In other words, an export’s counterpart is an import.

Two major forms of export business are direct selling and indirect selling.

Characteristics of an Import-Export Business

Major characteristics of import export businesses are:

1. The seller country is called an exporter, and the buyer country is called an importer.
2. Sellers can sell their goods and services directly or through a mediator.
3. Exporting is a very large business and very challenging.
4. Exporting businesses usually require lower levels of investment as compared to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Export Business Ideas in India

Top 20 Export Businesses in India

Here are some export businesses that are booming in the Indian market:

1. Handicrafts 

India’s handicrafts are unique and attention-grabbing, and they are considered the best export business in India. As an export business owner, you can offer quirky pieces to an international audience in locations like the United Kingdom, the USA, France, and Italy, among others. You can start this business using social media marketing today.

2. Clothing 

Did you know that India is among the largest textile and apparel manufacturers in the world? Even the clothing and textile industry is considered as most profitable export products from India. You can find some of the finest fabric at affordable rates in the country. Besides requiring less investment, such businesses also have a high profit margin. 

3. Pickles 

India exports pickles to over 54 countries. This information reveals an interesting fact: the market for pickles is huge globally. That is why venturing into the pickle exporting business can be exceedingly profitable. Pickles are said to be unique products to export from India.

4. Chemicals 

India is also a top exporter of organic and inorganic chemicals to many countries. You can start as a small-scale distributor and gradually go big.

5. Raw Materials

Sugar and rice are among the most exported raw materials from India. Various countries around the globe don’t have the ideal climate to grow these crops. So, you can export your preferred raw materials to people in those countries.

6. Jewellery 

India, as a nation, has no deficiency in gemstones and metal mines. The beauty of ethnic jewellery has the potential to lure many individuals. Besides, a business for exporting jewellery is super easy to set up.

7. Leather Products

Leather is used to make various accessories. Some of them include wallets, belts, and handbags. They are among those products whose demand will never go extinct. That is why many small to medium-sized businesses have written their success stories in the leather products export industry.

8. Footwear 

The Indian footwear market is valued at over 10 billion dollars. Footwear, like apparel, has many segments. Some of them include formal, casual, and sports. As a business owner in the footwear export market, you can source products at competitive prices and sell them in international marketplaces.

9. Pharmaceutical 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, India supported various countries by exporting their medicines. In addition, life-sustaining equipment is also in demand in the country. Naturally, it’s a great time to start exporting medicines to countries across the globe.

10. Spices 

Indian spices are unique in their own way and unlike anything else. Various business owners export spices to other countries and earn huge profits. However, you’d have to analyse the demand for many spices in popular markets to find the right fit that works for your business.

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11. Sports Goods

Products like inflatable balls, exercise equipment, boxing gloves, and cricket bats are among the most exported Indian sports goods. These have tremendous demand in the international market that will not stop anytime soon.

12. Vegetables 

As a country, India is one of the largest producers of vegetables like potatoes, onions, and cabbage. Starting a vegetable import export business ideas involves less risk and a higher likelihood of profit.

13. Petroleum Products

The petroleum products export opportunities from India are a lucrative business opportunity. There is an immense demand for petroleum products in the international market. India exports crude oil, petroleum products, natural gas, and petrochemicals to over 150 countries.

14. Plastic Export

India is one of the largest producers, exporters, and consumers of plastic globally. Plastic exports from India are largely driven by the increasing demand from the United States and Europe, among other major markets.

15. Souvenir 

There is a wide range of souvenirs in India, ranging from traditional items like wood carvings, brassware, and textiles to modern products such as keychains, magnets, and postcards. The souvenir export business from India in is booming, with demand from countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Canada, and Japan.

16. Marine Products

India is one of the largest producers of marine products, with a wide variety of species of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other marine organisms. Such products are exported to various countries, especially the Middle East, Europe, and the United States of America.

17. Gadgets 

The gadget export business in India is a lucrative option for entrepreneurs who want to make good money. Before finalising a set of gadgets, you need to determine the cost of the gadgets, their availability, and the demand.

18. Furniture 

India has a wide range of furniture products that range from traditional wooden and cane furniture to modern and designer furniture. The major export destinations for Indian furniture are the U.S., the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the UAE.

19. Detergent 

Detergents are one of the most widely used products in India. Exports of detergents from India have been successful businesses for many years. One of the most popular detergents exported from India is laundry detergent, and it is typically exported in powder form.

20. Jute Bags

Jute bags is the best import export business in India. It is the leading exporter of jute products globally. The major markets for Indian jute bags are Bangladesh, China, the USA, the UAE, and Canada. The demand for these bags is increasing due to the increased awareness of eco-friendly products.

Now that you have some profitable export business ideas, let’s get into why and how to start export business in India.

Why Start An Export Business in India

India is a rapidly growing economy and has become a substantial destination for export businesses. Export businesses have a potent opportunity to tap into the potential of the Indian market and to make profits from the sale of goods and services.

The Indian government also provides various incentives and benefits to businesses that engage in exports. These include reduced taxes, lower interest rates, access to credit lines, and many more.

Furthermore, with the increasing number of free trade agreements being negotiated with other countries, India is now becoming more attractive to foreign investors and exporters.

It gets further supplemented by the wide range of infrastructure and resources available in India to support minimum investment for import export business. All these factors make India an attractive destination for starting an export business.

How to Start an Export Business in India

Starting an export business in India is relatively easy. However, there are several steps involved. Read on to learn about the steps to follow.

  1. Determine what goods or services you will export. Research the market demand for these products and assess their potential for success in international markets.
  2. Register your business and obtain a PAN card from the income tax department.
  3. Obtain the necessary licences and registrations. It may include a licence from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), registration with the Export Promotion Council (EPC), and any other licences required for your specific products.
  4. Find potential buyers and establish relationships with them. It can be done through trade shows and exhibitions, online marketplaces, or contacting buyers directly.
  5. Securing financing for your export business It may include bank loans, government export financing programs, or private investment.
  6. Develop a marketing and sales strategy. It may include creating marketing materials, attending trade shows, and working with agents or distributors in target markets.
  7. Arrange for the transportation of your goods to the buyers. It may involve hiring a freight forwarder or working with a shipping company.
  8. Handle any necessary customs and documentation requirements. It may include obtaining export licenses, preparing shipping documents, and complying with regulations in the target market.
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FAQs on How To Start An Export Business in India

Here are some frequently asked questions on export business ideas and how to start export businesses.

Which export business is most profitable in India?
The most profitable export business in India is the export of pharmaceuticals, followed by the exports of textiles and apparel, engineering goods, chemicals, gems and jewellery, leather goods, food and beverages, and marine products.

Which item is most exported from India?
Rice is the most exported item from India.

Who is the richest exporter in India?
Currently, Reliance Industries Limited is the richest exporter in India. Founded and chaired by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries is involved in the export of several commodities, including oil and gas, petrochemicals, textiles, and retail products.

What can I export from India with low investment?
Some products you can export from India with little investment are spices, tea, handicrafts, organic foods, garments, jute bags, and jewellery.

How much money is needed to start an import-export business in India?
The amount of money needed to start an import-export business in India will vary depending on the type and size of the business. Generally, you should spend a minimum of INR 1,00,000 to INR 3,00,000 setting up a small business. This amount will cover costs like registration fees, legal fees, capital investments, and other costs associated with setting up a business.

Opportunities for exporters and export business ideas are growing, as are the options available to customers and importers as the world gets more linked every day. You are no longer only restricted to purchase goods from within your region. This allows you to start an import-export business that would not only increase your profits, but also your reach. 

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