India's embroidery market growing at 20% per annum
Embroidery is one of the oldest and most popular form of surface ornamentation of fabrics and garments, and India is among the top suppliers of embroidered fabrics and garments worldwide. The sector is now getting more organised, with large players entering it. Reena Mital & Sudha Swaminathan report
Demand for garments embellished with embroideries with sequins and crystals is quite strong in the international market, as also in India. However, while embroidery is used in a whole lot of products internationally, the market is still an unexplored one in India.
Speaking to Express Textile, Mr Ajay Agarwal, financial director, Pioneer Industries, said, "India is still a virgin market for embroideries. Traditionally, embroidery is used for ornamentation of apparel, products such as furnishings, lingerie, have not used much of embroidery. This form of embellishment is only now getting popular in menswear. Studies have shown that embroidery consumption per person in the country is Rs 8 per annum. This makes clear the huge potential of embroidery in the country, which is still to be tapped."
The size of the Indian embroidery market is slated to be around Rs 800-900 crore per annum. Realising the huge potential of embroidery, some large players have entered the sector, Pioneer Industries being the largest in Asia (capacity of 5 billion stitches per annum), for schiflli embroidered fabrics and crochet laces. Embroidery, till a decade ago, was largely in the unorganised sector, with very small units, typically with 2 and 4 embroidery machines. Today, 60 per cent of the market is accounted for by organised players. According to Mr Gurdeep Singh Bhatia, Aayvee Enterprises, among the leading exporters of embroidered fabrics, "The domestic embroidery manufacturing is almost totally unorganised, with very small units situated in various parts of the country. This is more a cottage industry. Most of the exporters in this segment do not have their own manufacturing facilities, but get the orders jobworked from such small units."
Aayvee Enterprises is into embroidered and printed fabrics, and gets its orders done by units situated in Dharavi and Govandi areas in Mumbai. According to him, Surat and Mumbai are the major embroidery centres in the country, and Bareilly, Muradabad, etc are known for beadwork. "It is not easy to operate in the domestic market, as competition is from these very small units. Aayvee was in the domestic market till some years ago, but as Surat started getting stronger in this segment, we had fewer wholesalers visiting Mumbai. Moreover, the orders in the domestic market are for very small lots and very large varieties, making it suitable to the small units. We found that the export market was more organised, and decided to move into exports." The company exports to the UK, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, and is planning to explore Egypt too. "Our realisations are in the range of Rs 400-1500 a metre for hand embroideries, and Rs 50-100 a metre for machine embroideries. Our exports are growing at a rate of 15-20 per cent per annum."
According to him, "India's strength lies in designing. Vietnam is our competitor, and we are hearing that China too is coming up, but India is an important source of embroideries for the world."
According to Mr V Elangovan, SNQC, orders of garments with embroidery are more than that with prints in ladies and girls apparels. Embroidery is preferred over prints because of eco-friendly characteristics (print use PVC). Garments with sequins and crochet laces (of Indian looks) are well received by foreign customers and now such works are being done in sleepwear too. Sequins is in vogue since last 18 months and will be in for another 12 months, he says.
Inputs for the embroidery sector
Threads, the most important component for this sector, is easily available in the country. Demand for embroidery thread in the country is growing at a rate of around seven per cent per annum. And most of the major thread manufacturers are expanding capacities. Says Mr Agarwal, "Threads are easily available in the country, but there is scope for improvement in quality. We have our own in-house thread manufacturing facility, as we are probably the largest consumer of thread in the country. This helps us to control costs. In case of certain requirements, we have to import threads from Thailand, Europe for better strength, twist, etc."
Realising the need for quality embroidery yarns, Indian Rayon has ventured into the manufacturing of viscose embroidery yarns. Consumption of embroidery yarns in the country stands at around 11,000 tonnes per annum, of which viscose accounts for a major share. According to Mr K D Joshi, vice president, marketing, Indian Rayon, "We have begun test manufacturing and marketing of this yarn, realising the demand potential. Moreover, around 3,500 multi-head computerised embroidery machines are being installed in Surat, around 1,500 such machines are getting installed in Mumbai, and a similar number each in Tirupur, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Ludhiana. All these units will require high quality embroidery yarns. Our yarns offer 850 stitches per minute, as against other yarns that lend themselves to 650 stitches per minute maximum." Indian Rayon is now stabilising the dyeing processes, to finetune the quality of the yarn. "We are improving the colour fastness of the yarns, ensuring azo-free dyeing, etc. We will be starting commercial production by December this year, or by January next year. We are aiming at getting 10 per cent of the market share by 2006-07," said Mr Joshi. While viscose yarns are the most widely used in embroidery, cotton, polyester and metallic yarns are also used. However, a large part of the production of these threads takes place in the unorganised sector, with units have a capacity to manufacture 5 tonnes to 60 tonnes of embroidery thread per annum.
As for the machinery, the industry has to import embroidery machines from Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and China. "The serious players use only German and Japanese embroidery machines, those who can compromise on quality go for Chinese makes," according to Mr Agarwal. Says Mr Joshi, "This is a very price sensitive market, and the industry is finding out that Chinese machines are just as good. For those who require 6-12 head embroidery systems, these machines are working well, both for domestic and export production." Says Mr Bhatia, "The price difference is very vast. While a Japanese machine would cost around Rs 40-50 lakh, a similar machine from China is available at Rs 5-7 lakh. This attracts people to go in for Chinese machines."
Pioneer Industries uses Swiss machines for schiflli embroidery, and machines from Germany for multi-head embroidery.
"It is not viable to depend on hand-made works for big orders and there is a need to mechanise all the hand works," says Mr A M Ganesan of Garment Machinery System, dealers for ZSK embroidery machines. Garment Machinery System is planning to introduce machines that can sew beads, in February 2006. ZSK has come up with a new technique in embellishment named StitchTuft. StitchTuft is a soft, though stable cut pile. "It features a unique experience for both visual and tactile senses. StitchTuft is very similar to velour. Depending on the chosen yarn, pile height and pile density, the look and feel can be designed according to one's individual liking. Special machines from ZSK can process a wide array of fancy yarns, ribbons, cords and chains to obtain the most amazing results," informed Mr Ganesan. These materials, which were processed by hand in the past, are now embroidered by the smart W-heads automatically, at reasonable costs and constant quality. The K-head from ZSK is a special embroidery head perfectly suitable for special applications in chain and chenille embroidery. The combination of both techniques within one pattern generates new and very special embroidery configurations.
Tajima has launched a new embroidery machine for chenille stitch with sequin. Called TCMX series, the chenille embroidery heads operate at 750 rpm and ordinary embroidery heads at 1,000 rpm. "Combination of chenille embroidery in six colours and application of options like high speed sequin device allows high precision and higher-value added embroidery," says Mr A Gopalakrishnan, managing director, Unity Overseas, Tirupur.