How to Import from Suppliers in India (Best Practices)

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With its rapidly booming economy and huge population of over 1 billion people, it's no wonder that India is the new darling of wholesale importing. If you are keen to expand your product range and take advantage of this expanding market, keep reading!

Why Import from India?  

Like China, India's economy is in a growth period, so costs of manufacturing are very low compared to elsewhere in the world. As a seller, this presents you with an opportunity to buy very cheap products directly from Indian manufacturers and sell them to make a very nice profit in your own country.

What to Import

India manufactures just about everything - but the top exports that interest us sellers are leather products (shoes and clothing), electronic goods, plastic consumables, ready-made garments, gemstones, jewelry, handicrafts and fabrics.  

Indian-style costume and gem jewelry is an emerging sector of the Indian economy and a leading foreign exchange earner. Fine jewelry is a relatively new market for India, but they have done a great job of catching up on using the latest technology to form modern cuts and styles.

Indian ready-made garments have taken big strides in the past few decades, with the sector accounting for around 30% of their total exports, and employing a whopping 35 million people! Suppliers will stock all the usual stuff like jeans, shirts, suits and T-shirts, and also some unique items like Indian saris and sequined garments. The best part is you can get some of these items for as little as a couple of bucks.  

Fabrics and tapestries from India are hugely popular in the west. A recent emergence in ethnic trends for home décor means that now is a great time to look into importing some unique Indian textiles. Bed and floor coverings are the most popular exports, with curtains following not too far behind. It's essential to get samples from any potential suppliers before ordering textiles from India as quality will vary greatly.

Indian SaleHoo Suppliers

Indian Supplier #1 Great for: Fashion, costume and bridal jewelry

Indian Supplier #2 Great for: Silver and gemstones

Indian Supplier #3 Great for: Home improvement tools

Indian Supplier #4 Great for: Natural supplements and remedies

Indian Supplier #5 Great for: Fashion accessories, gift items and home deco

If you are up for an adventure and looking at investing some serious cash, consider traveling to India. It's a great way to build a relationship with a supplier, negotiate the best price possible and check for quality. For more information on traveling to India, check out Lonely Planet's introduction to India, and for up-to-date, no nonsense reviews on hotels, restaurants and information on overland travel and local customs, checkout the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forums on India  

How to Import from India

When importing from India to your country, all the usual rules will apply. Local import and export regulations will vary but generally you will need to fill in all the correct documentation, arrange shipping, clear Customs and pay the relevant duties. In the US, documentation usually consists of a commercial invoice detailing the product amounts, an arrival notice, an ocean or airway bill, a packing list and Customs forms 3461 and 7501.

To find out more about importing goods into your country, check out our Importing and Shipping section in our Learning and Training Center. Inside you'll find country-specific information on everything you need to do when importing from abroad.

Beware of corrupt suppliers and con-artists

Unfortunately, India has a bit of a reputation for shady business practices. Caution is required when dealing with any new supplier, but when dealing with overseas suppliers, you should be extra vigilant. We always recommend that our members take steps to help ensure a buyer is legitimate. Start by communicating with them as much as possible; give them a call if you can, and always ask for product samples - a phony supplier will get shifty when you ask them for a sample they don't have. Another tip is to search our Member's Forums and see if anything comes up when you enter their business name. If in doubt, just ask our friendly staff in the forums who are pretty well versed at sussing out illegitimate suppliers.


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  • Debarati De 28th of September
    It is really a wonderful help for those who r seriously planing to import from India....even it helped me a lot.....thanks for this guide.
  • James Vincent 30th of January
    99.99% of payments to India will need to be in advance.
  • vinondanand 1st of June
    How much payments and when depend upon what is in agreement between both parties.
  • Tom Lenz 12th of September
    Does anyone have information on this company from India? I want to start importing from them.
    Refex Industries Limited
    1/171, Old Mahapalipuram Road
    Thiruporur, Kanchipuram Dist
    Pin: 603110
    Contact: +91 9840204123
    Web site:
  • vijayseair 5th of December
    Most new entrepreneurs feel unsure about ahead the most consistent and right information about their trade from their peers and competitors. But with the trade information database, they can increase easy access to wide trade import and export of data information and business tools that can help them to work their new system fairly successfully at Seair Exim Solutions.
  • Ben Clark 17th of December
    A good option for QC is to hire an independent company to do on-site inspections.
    • Rhea Bontol SaleHoo Admin 20th of December
      That's true but if dealing with large manufacturer/s, best to setup a face-to-face meeting to show that you're serious in doing business.
  • Santosh 1st of September
    Guys I am looking for Buyer here in USA, I am supplier of all Indian Groceries item.. Need help