India’s Top 10 Imports

Mumbai fruits and vegetables

Mumbai fruits, vegetables

India imported US$507.6 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2018, up by 10.5% since 2014 and up by 14.3% from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, 60.3% of India’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from fellow Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 15.8% of import purchased by India while 8.2% worth originated from Africa with another 8.1% coming from exporters in North America. Smaller percentages arrived in India from Latin America (4.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (2.9%) led by Australia.

Given India’s population of 1.297 billion people, its total $507.6 billion spent on 2018 imports translates to roughly $400 in yearly product demand from every person living in the vast South Asian country.

India’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in India’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into India.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$168.6 billion (33.2% of total imports)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $65 billion (12.8%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $52.4 billion (10.3%)
  4. Machinery including computers: $43.2 billion (8.5%)
  5. Organic chemicals: $22.6 billion (4.4%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $15.2 billion (3%)
  7. Iron, steel: $12 billion (2.4%)
  8. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $10.2 billion (2%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $9.5 billion (1.9%)
  10. Inorganic chemicals: $7.3 billion (1.4%)

India’s top 10 imports accounted for four-fifths (80%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Imported mineral fuels including oil had the fastest-growing increase in value among India’s top 10 import categories, up 37% year over year.

In second place for expanding import purchases was the inorganic chemicals category via a 29.8% improvement, trailed by the 25.6% increase for organic chemicals and the 20.1% gain for machinery including computers.

The two declining categories for India’s imports were animal and vegetable fats, oils and waxes (down -14.4%) and gems and precious metals (down -12.6%).

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more detailed view of imported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of India’s Most Valuable Import Products further down near the bottom of this article or under the adjacent product folder tabs.

Fuel

In 2018, Indian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.

  1. Crude oil: US$114.5 billion (up 39.6% from 2017)
  2. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $24.6 billion (up 22.5%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $19 billion (up 45%)
  4. Processed petroleum oils: $5.7 billion (up 48.7%)
  5. Petroleum oil residues: $2.2 billion (down -2.5%)
  6. Coke, semi-coke: $1.8 billion (up 52.6%)
  7. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $588.8 million (up 48.4%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $121.4 million (up 17.2%)
  9. Tar pitch, coke: $87 million (up 63.7%)
  10. Electrical energy: $31.1 million (down -12%)

Among these import subcategories, Indian purchases of tar pitch and coke (up 63.7%), coke or semi-coke (up 52.6%) and processed petroleum oils (up 48.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imports related to mineral fuels among Indian businesses and consumers.

Precious

In 2018, Indian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of gems and precious metals.

  1. Gold (unwrought): US$31.8 billion (down -12% from 2017)
  2. Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $26.7 billion (down -2.2%)
  3. Silver (unwrought): $3.8 billion (up 28.4%)
  4. Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung): $1.1 billion (down -39.5%)
  5. Jewelry: $658.4 million (down -15.8%)
  6. Synthetic precious stones: $319.8 million (down -15.5%)
  7. Platinum (unwrought): $287.5 million (down -9.5%)
  8. Pearls: $233.1 million (down -92.8%)
  9. Imitation jewelry: $40.1 million (up 1.7%)
  10. Precious stone dust, powder: $30.5 million (up 1.3%)

Three among these import subcategories grew from 2017 to 2018 namely Indian purchases of unprocessed silver (up 28.4%), imitation jewelry (up 1.7%) and precious stone dust or powder (up 1.3%).

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported gems and precious metals among Indian businesses and consumers.

Machinery

In 2018, Indian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$6.3 billion (up 13.1% from 2017)
  2. Turbo-jets: $3 billion (up 32.9%)
  3. Miscellaneous machinery: $2.2 billion (up 38.6%)
  4. Air or vacuum pumps: $1.8 billion (up 19.2%)
  5. Computer parts, accessories: $1.6 billion (up 12.9%)
  6. Printing machinery: $1.5 billion (up 11.2%)
  7. Machinery parts: $1.4 billion (up 28.1%)
  8. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $1.4 billion (up 26.6%)
  9. Air conditioners: $1.3 billion (up 26.3%)
  10. Piston engine parts: $1.2 billion (up 18.6%)

Among these import subcategories, Indian purchases of miscellaneous machinery (up 38.6%), turbo-jets (up 32.9%) and machinery parts (up 28.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Indian businesses and consumers.

Chemicals

In 2018, Indian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of organic chemicals.

  1. Cyclic hydrocarbons: US$2.9 billion (up 30.8% from 2017)
  2. Acyclic alcohols: $2.3 billion (up 0.01%)
  3. Heterocyclics, nucleic acids: $2 billion (up 18.1%)
  4. Saturated acyclic mono acids: $1.6 billion (up 46%)
  5. Antibiotics: $1.4 billion (up 31.4%)
  6. Polycarboxylic acids: $1.2 billion (up 50.6%)
  7. Acyclic hydrocarbons: $1.1 billion (up 54.8%)
  8. Hydrocarbon derivatives: $846.2 million (up 15.2%)
  9. Unsaturated acyclic mono acids: $842.5 million (up 22.1%)
  10. Amine-function compounds: $825 million (up 29.6%)

Among these import subcategories, Indian purchases of acyclic hydrocarbons (up 54.8%), polycarboxylic acids (up 50.6%) and saturated acyclic mono acids (up 46%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported organic chemicals among Indian businesses and consumers.




 

Searchable List of India’s Most Valuable Import Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, India’s top import products are crude oil followed by gold, diamonds, coal, petroleum gas then mobile phones.

The following searchable table displays 200 of India’s most in-demand imported goods during 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankIndia's Import Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Crude oil$114.5 billion+39.6%
2Gold (unwrought)$31.8 billion-12%
3Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$26.7 billion-2.2%
4Coal, solid fuels made from coal$24.6 billion+22.5%
5Petroleum gases$19 billion+45%
6Phone system devices including smartphones$18.8 billion-8.9%
7Integrated circuits/microassemblies$7.1 billion+239.1%
8Computers, optical readers$6.3 billion+13.1%
9Processed petroleum oils$5.7 billion+48.7%
10Palm oil$5.5 billion-18.8%
11Automobile parts/accessories$4.8 billion+10.4%
12Silver (unwrought)$3.8 billion+28.4%
13Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$3.6 billion-29.7%
14Iron or steel scrap$3.4 billion+38.8%
15Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks$3.2 billion+53.2%
16Fertilizer mixes$3.1 billion+78.5%
17Turbo-jets$3 billion+32.9%
18Cyclic hydrocarbons$2.9 billion+30.8%
19Copper ores, concentrates$2.7 billion-31%
20Ethylene polymers$2.5 billion-6.7%
21Aluminum waste, scrap$2.5 billion+34.6%
22Vinyl chloride polymers$2.3 billion+16%
23Soya-bean oil$2.3 billion-17.3%
24Acyclic alcohols$2.3 billion+0.01%
25Miscellaneous machinery$2.2 billion+38.6%
26Petroleum oil residues$2.2 billion-2.5%
27Electrical converters/power units$2.1 billion+15.6%
28TV receivers/monitors/projectors$2 billion+20.6%
29Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$2 billion+18.1%
30Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$1.9 billion+33.4%
31Sun/safflower/cotton-seed oil$1.9 billion+2.8%
32Phosphoric/polyphosphoric acids$1.9 billion+11.1%
33Air or vacuum pumps$1.8 billion+19.2%
34Coke, semi-coke$1.8 billion+52.6%
35Copper wire$1.8 billion+25.9%
36Coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashews$1.7 billion+16.8%
37Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$1.7 billion+14.4%
38Electric storage batteries$1.7 billion+76.3%
39TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$1.6 billion+66.1%
40Lower-voltage switches, fuses$1.6 billion+23.5%
41Saturated acyclic mono acids$1.6 billion+46%
42Computer parts, accessories$1.6 billion+12.9%
43Nitrogenous fertilizers$1.6 billion+10.3%
44Printing machinery$1.5 billion+11.2%
45Unrecorded sound media$1.5 billion-19.9%
46Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$1.5 billion+0.7%
47Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$1.5 billion+7.1%
48Machinery parts$1.4 billion+28.1%
49Antibiotics$1.4 billion+31.4%
50Aluminum oxide/hydroxide$1.4 billion+69.6%
51Taps, valves, similar appliances$1.4 billion+26.6%
52Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$1.3 billion+7%
53Paper/paperboard waste, scrap$1.3 billion+66.5%
54Air conditioners$1.3 billion+26.3%
55Physical/chemical analysis tools$1.3 billion+8.9%
56TV/radio/radar device parts$1.3 billion-13.7%
57Propylene/olefin polymers$1.3 billion+12.9%
58Other measuring/testing machines$1.3 billion+25.5%
59Piston engine parts$1.2 billion+18.6%
60Ball, roller bearings$1.2 billion+28.2%
61Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$1.2 billion+19.8%
62Potassic fertilizers$1.2 billion+10.5%
63Polycarboxylic acids$1.2 billion+50.6%
64Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$1.2 billion+7.8%
65Liquid pumps and elevators$1.2 billion+24.8%
66Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$1.1 billion+51.5%
67Synthetic rubber$1.1 billion+12.4%
68Rough wood$1.1 billion-7.6%
69Insulated wire/cable$1.1 billion+16%
70Aircraft, spacecraft$1.1 billion-58.6%
71Miscellaneous nuts$1.1 billion+2.8%
72Acyclic hydrocarbons$1.1 billion+54.8%
73Iron ferroalloys$1.1 billion+13%
74Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung)$1.1 billion-39.5%
75Medication mixes in dosage$1.1 billion+3.3%
76Dried shelled vegetables$1.1 billion-73%
77Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$1.1 billion+24.4%
78Iron ores, concentrates$1 billion+124.9%
79Rubber/plastic article making machines$1 billion+4.6%
80Electric motors, generators$1 billion+38.7%
81Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$951.7 million+17.8%
82Breaker vessels$937.8 million+17.7%
83Natural rubber$915.3 million+21%
84Regulate/control instruments$914.5 million+13%
85Ammonia$910 million+28.6%
86Newsprint (rolls or sheets)$909.4 million+7.9%
87Miscellaneous plastic items$909.3 million+1.7%
88Iron or steel tubes, pipes$904.1 million+82.3%
89Copper waste, scrap$895.4 million+12.9%
90Piston engines$895 million+27.5%
91Microphones/headphones/amps$893.7 million+29.6%
92Chemical industry products/residuals$878.9 million+15%
93Unrefined copper$849.3 million-3.6%
94Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$847.8 million+14.7%
95Hydrocarbon derivatives$846.2 million+15.2%
96Unsaturated acyclic mono acids$842.5 million+22.1%
97Miscellaneous iron or steel items$837.1 million+29.6%
98Amine-function compounds$825 million+29.6%
99Other coloring matter, luminophores$807 million+14.7%
100Phenols/phenol-alcohols$794.6 million+39.4%
101X-ray equipment$787.2 million+23.1%
102Aluminum (unwrought)$770.5 million-4%
103Natural calcium/aluminum calcium phosphates$759.2 million+11.2%
104Blood fractions (including antisera)$756.2 million+31%
105Amino-compounds (oxygen)$752.7 million+23.6%
106Manganese ores, concentrates$743.3 million-4.4%
107Electrical machinery$701.7 million+14.4%
108Amino-resins$701.6 million+25.3%
109Temperature-change machines$701.5 million+11.4%
110Moulding boxes/base$695.4 million+14.3%
111Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$693.1 million+22.6%
112Cruise/cargo ships, barges$692.6 million-17.4%
113Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$680.8 million+63.8%
114Motorcycle parts/accessories$676.7 million+33.1%
115Coated paper$668 million-8%
116Industrial fatty acids and alcohols$667.4 million+20%
117Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$667.1 million-1.7%
118Jewelry$658.4 million-15.8%
119Lead (unwrought)$646 million+11.6%
120Flat-rolled stainless steel items$643.1 million+21%
121Ketones, quinones$643 million+24.4%
122Vulcanized rubber items$638.4 million+18.4%
123Electrical capacitators$630.9 million+77.3%
124Acrylic polymers$628.3 million+23.9%
125Cotton (uncarded, uncombed)$625.4 million-35%
126Printed circuits$621.9 million+46%
127Miscellaneous furniture$615.7 million-0.1%
128Polyamides$614.1 million+43.5%
129Nitrile-function compounds$610.4 million+63.7%
130Lifting/loading machinery$607.3 million+36.4%
131Zinc (unwrought)$606.7 million+17.4%
132Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps$594.6 million+26.3%
133Other machine parts, accessories$590 million+43.9%
134Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$588.8 million+48.4%
135Machine-tool for metal$588.6 million+30.8%
136Refined copper, unwrought alloys$586.9 million+138.6%
137Sugar (cane or beet)$578 million-45.2%
138Aluminum foil (thin)$570.5 million+27.5%
139Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$559.5 million+15.6%
140Aircraft parts$552.2 million-62.3%
141Interchangeable hand/machine tools$542.6 million+9%
142Refrigerators, freezers$538.6 million+0.02%
143Orthopedic appliances$523.2 million+6.4%
144Nickel (unwrought)$519 million+27%
145 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $518.1 million+10.6%
146Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers$514.8 million+26.8%
147Metal-working machinery$506.8 million+116%
148Tugboats, pusher craft$504.9 million-14.2%
149Weaving machines (loom)$502.3 million+7%
150Miscellaneous heterocyclics$498.1 million+11.5%
151Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$495.4 million+8.7%
152Chemical woodpulp (dissolving)$483.5 million-9.4%
153Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$479.9 million+46.9%
154Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$476.4 million+29.3%
155Synthetic filament yarn$467.5 million+10%
156Other diagnostic/lab reagents$458.1 million+10.9%
157Limestone, other calcareous stone$453.6 million+25.9%
158Cases, handbags, wallets$452.3 million+31.7%
159Rubber tires (new)$447.4 million-2.1%
160Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$446.1 million+10.6%
161Electric motor parts$442 million-7.2%
162Textile fabrics with plastics$440.4 million+3.4%
163Copper tubes, pipes$435.1 million+23.6%
164Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$434.4 million+23.8%
165Carboxylic acids$429.7 million+9.3%
166Base metal mountings, fittings$426.9 million+25.3%
167Sawn wood$421.7 million+14.7%
168Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$420.3 million+43.2%
169Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$419.6 million+27.8%
170Carbonates, percarbonates$417.9 million+27.1%
171Alloy steel bars, rods$410.8 million+24.3%
172Other organic compounds$408.9 million+4.2%
173Cellulose/chemical derivatives$406.3 million+24.3%
174Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$402.5 million+22.6%
175Metal-rolling mills$398.6 million+86.3%
176Auxiliary machines$396.8 million+3.9%
177Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools$395.1 million-8.3%
178Derricks, cranes$388.4 million-21.5%
179Essential oils$388.1 million+42.6%
180Miscellaneous engines, motors$384.2 million+38%
181Cellulose fiber paper$384.1 million+20.3%
182Engines (diesel)$381.3 million-3.9%
183Carbon blacks, other forms of carbon$379.9 million+127.5%
184Stone items, other mineral substances$370.8 million+83.3%
185Styrene polymers$369 million+19%
186Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$365.4 million+49.6%
187Other nitrogen compounds$364.7 million+10.3%
188Synthetic organic coloring$358.4 million+13.5%
189Rubber accelerators, plasticizers$356.6 million+27.8%
190Electric water heaters, hair dryers$355.2 million+22.7%
191Heterocyclics, oxygen$348 million+25.9%
192Uranium/thorium ores, concentrates$345.4 million+520.7%
193Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$344.2 million+27.7%
194Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$344 million+16.4%
195Cutting-oil preparations, lubricants$342.4 million+17.4%
196Sort/screen/washing machinery$339.8 million+33.2%
197Dates/figs/pineapples/mangoes/avocadoes/guavas$336.9 million-2.2%
198Textile fiber work machines$331.5 million-13.9%
199Apples, pears (fresh)$325.6 million+0.2%
200Synthetic precious stones$319.8 million-15.5%

These 200 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$448 billion or 88.3% by value for all products imported into India during 2018.

See also India’s Top 10 Exports, India’s Top Trading Partners, Top Indian Trade Balances and India’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed March 8, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 8, 2019