Carpet weaving is an ancient Indian tradition, with the industry flourishing in the country 16th century onwards. Today, India is the world's largest producer and exporter of handmade carpets in terms of value and volume.
India is currently a leader in the production of handmade carpets in terms of both volume and value. Its heritage in the handmade carpets is recognized in the world with its recognizable share in the global exports. As a matter of fact, 90% of the carpets produced in India are exported. During April-November 2019, exports of handmade carpets from India stood at INR 64,407.19 Crores (USD 916.15 million).
India exports carpets to more than 70 countries worldwide. Major importers for the Indian woven carpets are the United States, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, France, Italy, Brazil, etc. With the advent of globalization, new opportunities are opening for the Indian carpet market in developing countries.
The global market for carpets has been undergoing rapid and fundamental changes in the past two decades.
Production of handmade carpets continues to concentrated in some developing countries of the world including India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
The new and relatively stable trend in traditional markets seems to be in demand for hand made carpets from the younger generation who have good income and education. While in the 1950s/60s of the last century the hand knotted carpet was something for the upper crust of the society, it is today no longer seen as too expensive a luxury.
Another interesting trend noticed is that the number of wholesalers is reducing because more and more small retailers prefer to buy directly. They are often invited by the trade fair organizers in manufacturing countries. The buyers can travel at low cost and buy a few carpets.
Socially compliant production without child labor, bonded labor and with decent living wages has emerged as a key requirement. At one stage the Indian carpet market was severely challenged by the accusations of usage of child labors. At that time, the introduction of Rugmark Label and certification of carpet factories that were free of child labor with Rugmark went a long way in removing the doubts from the mind of the buyers and importers.
Rugmark has now become a symbol of compliance especially with regard to avoidance of child and bonded labor. Besides weaning the children from carpet trade, Rugmark also went ahead and provided for their free education and skilling to enable them to become productive and responsible citizens. The carpet trade in India is now in a much better health, thanks to Rugmark's intervention.