Tracing the roots of the sports equipments manufacturing industry in India will take us to Sialkot, Pakistan. For so long, this town enjoyed a renowned fame in this sector by housing a long list of different sized companies that were into this arena. Eventually, following the partition of India a number of skilled craftsmen of this town moved to Punjab, settling in Jalandhar. Since then, Jalandar has been offering a strong foothold for the development of sports goods manufacturing in the country. The following years also witnessed the expansion of this industry to other parts of the nation including Meerut, (Uttar Pradesh) and Gurgaon (Haryana). United kingdom is the principal importer of sports equipments manufactured in India followed by other countries including the United States of America, Germany, France and Australia. The sports goods manufacturing industry in India is mainly concentrated in the cities of Jalandhar and Meerut.
Over the past five decades, the sports goods manufacturing industry in India has experienced an incredible growth and today it has secured a very prominent place in the country’s economy in terms of its immense potential in providing employment to many people besides its growing prospects of growth and export. It is for these reasons that this segment in India is receiving a great emphasis on its planned and structured development, aimed at most favorable deployment of resources for enhancing the returns, especially out of exports.
On the whole, the Indian sports goods industry manufactures about 318 items. To name a few items in this list, one can mention inflatable balls, Cricket bats and Cricket balls, hockey sticks and balls, boxing equipment, fishing equipment, indoor games like chess and carom boards and different kinds of safety equipment used across various sports and games. One can say that Indian sports goods industry is in fact a labour intensive industry providing wonderful employment opportunities to the deprived sections of society in addition to a large number of women.
Indian Sports goods and equipments are highly acclaimed around the world, while they have made a definite and indelible mark in the global sports equipments market. In fact, sports goods manufactured in India have thoroughly established their unique identity in several countries across the world. The list of these counties includes both developing and developed countries besides CIS Countries. A wonderful fact in this regard is that the sports equipments manufacturing industry of India that operates from the status of a cottage industry has today established itself as a principal and highly reliable supplier of high quality sports goods to a sizeable chunk of the international market.
The Indian Sports equipments manufacturing industry has been exporting about 60% of its total domestic production to the sports loving consumers around the globe. This segment in India has today become a globally competitive and creative body. Whether it is just a Cricket bat, a hockey stick or a football, the significant contribution made by the Indian sports goods manufacturing industry to the global sports goods equipments market is indeed commendable and remarkable.
To a great extent, the sports equipments manufacturing industry in India is highly concentrated in the cottage and small-scale sector. Therefore, there is a scarcity of resources required for modernizing the technology and to effectively market the products.
Talking of the sports goods manufacturing activity in Jalandar, three types of establishments can be identified namely big establishments that cater mainly to exports business besides meeting the needs of the domestic market; small establishments that focus on domestic market alone and unregistered units that are found in the urban pockets of Jalandhar. To a great extent, these unregistered units are small home-based units run by the members of families, often assisted by a few hired employees. In most cases, these units do not function independently. They accept the jobs outsourced by bigger firms and also do not enjoy a direct access to market.
While the total value of the sports goods manufacturing in India is worth about 5,000 crore, the contribution of Jalandhar to this figure is about 60%. Amazingly, in the year 2008, Jalandhar based units alone had manufactured about 25,000 to 30,000 footballs a day.
Steps towards development for sports equipment industry
Some of the important stepping stones that have carried forward the sports goods manufacturing industry in India are a highly innovative approach to production combines with a sense of social responsibility in the larger interest of the society. This segment in the Indian manufacturing arena has thoroughly dedicated itself to rise up to the future demand by evolving new products that are demanded by newly emerging markets. The principal factor that has boosted up the growth of a large number of small scale sports goods manufacturing units in the country are the liberalized industrial policies of the government that have helped them to actualize the goals set forth by the Indian Government.
The Indian sports goods manufacturing Industry is keenly looking forward to joint ventures and technical collaborations with suitable firms especially with a considerable degree of buy back arrangements, since the sports equipments manufactured in the country enjoy an immense export potential. In fact there already there are several manufacturing-cum-marketing collaborations in the arena that have matured to yield desired fruits across certain non-traditional disciplines. A number of others are now taking shape with the help and support rendered by some of the renowned leaders in the sports world.
Potential of sport equipment industry
The sports goods manufacturing industry of India is endowed with a huge potential across a wide spectrum of industrial issues including employment, economic development, and exports. This segment has today generated direct employment opportunities to about 1.5 lakh people. In Jalandhar alone, there are about 1,000 big and small sports goods manufacturers.
Though the business statistics across the globe is greatly encouraging, sports goods manufacturers in India need to increasingly implement more modern and value added technology in the process of manufacturing and evolving innovative products. This will help in meeting the growing competition in the international market. Over and above, widening the products range manufacturing in India to include the equipments used in skiing, mountain climbing, golf, winter sports, water sports, skating, fitness and gymnasium, tennis and pool tables will help this industry grow to new heights as there is a great demand for these sports equipments in the international market.