Handicraft business gets boost from online storesNepali handicrafts are being increasingly featured on global online marketplaces with major sellers including them in their catalogues. Online store giants Alibaba, eBay and Indian-based Flipkart have helped to carve a niche market for Nepali handmade products.
Nepali handicrafts are being increasingly featured on global online marketplaces with major sellers including them in their catalogues. Online store giants Alibaba, eBay and Indian-based Flipkart have helped to carve a niche market for Nepali handmade products.
Alibaba has provided a platform for 441 Nepali suppliers of products like wooden handicrafts, sculptures, metal crafts, pashmina, felt and paper products. Likewise, Flipkart has listed 65 craft products in the Nepali handicraft section, and 58 Nepali handicraft and felt products are offered on eBay. Nepali handicraft exporters have benefited greatly from this arrangement.
“Our sales mainly happen through our online marketplace, and we expect a total turnover of Rs50 million this year,” said Prakash Bajracharya, marketing manager at Sana Hastakala. “Total sales are expected to grow 15 percent this year.” He said 22 percent of its online sales are shipped to the US and Canada followed by Britain, Italy and Germany.
Another company, Unique Creative Export which trades through its website Nepalihandicraft-product.com, has also reported a recurring growth of 15 percent each year through sales of felt, hemp and garments to the Australian and American markets. “Although the volume of transactions is small, we have been experiencing a fair growth recently after a frustrating year.”
Research and Markets, a market research firm, said in its Global Handicrafts Market 2015-2019 report that the global handicraft market would experience a growth of 12 percent in the upcoming years in line with a boom in global tourism.
The report has named three Nepali vendors in its list of prominent global handicraft exporters—Sana Hastakala, Nepali Handicraft Product and Himalayan Asian Handicraft. They have been placed among market leaders like Creative Divya and Asian Handicrafts of India and Oriental Handicrafts of Singapore. “The small initial investment required, such as the setup cost, labour, raw materials, and transportation cost, is the primary driver for the growth of this market. Woodware handicrafts accounted for 34 percent of the market share during 2014. China and Nepal are known for their attractive architecture made of carved wooden struts.”
According to Research and Markets, the US is the largest importer of handicraft products in the global market and accounts for 38 percent of the imports. “The high demand for home accessories, jewellery and other fashion accessories such as handbags and belts is driving the market growth in this region,” the report said. “Several trends are emerging that are expected to exert a positive influence on the market during the forecast period. One such trend is the rise in online retailing, which offers customers competitive prices and convenience. The demand for unique products that symbolize, in the purchaser’s mind, a community or culture will propel market growth.”
Meanwhile, the Nepali craft sector is slowly getting back on track with an increase in the volume of transactions. Furthermore, a positive growth in online retailing and tourism is also predicted to drive the industry towards prosperity.
According to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) figures, the metal and wood handicraft sector saw a 23 percent slump in exports to other countries except India and China while other products like pashmina, paper products, silverware and jewellery experienced declines of 22.3 percent, 24.7 percent and 62 percent respectively in fiscal 2014-2015.
However, the industry is on a revival course. NRB’s data for the last eight months shows the metal and wood handicraft sector swelled 4 percent while pashmina, paper products, silverware and jewellery saw growths of 4 percent, 20.5 percent, 15 percent and 79 percent respectively.