Leather Industry – Overview, Export Performance and Prospects

  • The Leather Industry holds a prominent place in the Indian economy. This sector is known for its consistency in high export earnings and it is among the top ten foreign exchange earners for the Country.
  • The export of footwear, leather and leather products from India reached a value of US$ 5.07 billion during 2019-20.
  • The leather industry is bestowed with an affluence of raw materials as India is endowed with 20% of world cattle & buffalo and 11% of world goat & sheep population. Added to this are the strengths of skilled manpower, innovative technology, increasing industry compliance to international environmental standards, and the dedicated support of the allied industries.
  • The leather industry is an employment intensive sector, providing job to about 4.42 million people, mostly from the weaker sections of the society. Women employment is predominant in leather products sector with about 30% share.
  • India is the second largest producer of footwear and leather garments in the world.
  • India is the second largest exporter of leather garments and third largest exporter of Saddlery & Harness in the world.
  • The major production centers for footwear, leather and leather products in India are located in the States of  Tamil Nadu– Chennai, Ambur, Ranipet, Vaniyambadi, Vellore, Pernambut, Trichy, Dindigul and Erode ; West Bengal – Kolkata ; Uttar Pradesh – Kanpur, Agra, Noida, Saharanpur; Maharashtra – Mumbai ;  Punjab – Jalandhar ; Karnataka – Bengaluru ; Telengana Hyderabad ; Haryana  – Ambala, Gurgaon, Panchkula, Karnal and Faridabad; Delhi; Madhya Pradesh – Dewas ; Kerala – Kozhikode and Ernakulam / Cochin ; Rajasthan; Jaipur ; Jammu & Kashmir; Srinagar.

Strengths of Indian leather sector

  • Own raw material source – About 3 billion sq ft of leather produced annually
  • Some varieties of goat / calf / sheep skins command premium position
  • Strong and eco-sustainable tanning base
  • Modernized manufacturing units
  • Trained / skilled manpower at competitive wage levels
  • World-class institutional support for Design & Product Development, HRD and R & D.
  • Presence of support industries like leather chemicals and finishing auxiliaries
  • Presence in major markets – Long Europe experience
  • Strategic location in the Asian landmass

Emerging strengths

  • Design development initiatives by institutions and individuals
  • Continuous modernization and technology up-gradation
  • Economic size of manufacturing units
  • Constant human resource development programme to enhance productivity
  • Increasing use of quality components
  • Shorter prototype development time
  • Delivery compliance
  • Growing domestic market for footwear and leather articles

Highlights of Leather Product Segments: