India’s Top 10 Imports

Mumbai fruits and vegetables

Mumbai fruits, vegetables

India imported US$444.1 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2017, down by -4.7% since 2013 but up by 24.5% from 2016 to 2017.

From January to July 2018, India’s imported goods were valued at $292 billion. This 7-month metric puts Indian imports on track for an annualized $500.6 billion estimated for all 2018.

From a continental perspective, 57.5% of India’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from other Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 17.2% of import purchases by India while 7.9% worth originated from Africa with 7.3% coming from exporters in North America. At 4.5%, a smaller portion arrived in India from Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean.

Given India’s population of 1.282 billion people, its total $444.1 billion spent on 2017 imports translates to roughly $350 in yearly product demand from every person 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 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into India.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$123 billion (27.7% of total imports)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $74.4 billion (16.7%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $46.9 billion (10.6%)
  4. Machinery including computers: $36 billion (8.1%)
  5. Organic chemicals: $18 billion (4%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $13 billion (2.9%)
  7. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $11.9 billion (2.7%)
  8. Iron, steel: $10 billion (2.2%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $8.4 billion (1.9%)
  10. Ores, slag, ash: $5.9 billion (1.3%)

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.

India’s top 10 imports accounted for almost four-fifths (78.2%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Imported ores, slag and ash had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 57.3% year over year.

In second place for improving import sales was the gems and precious metals category via a 54.5% improvement. Then came Indian imports of mineral fuels including oil, which recorded the third-fastest gain up 37.8%.

Machinery including computers was the laggard among the top 10 Indian import categories, posting a respectable 10.7% uptick.

Also see the section Searchable List of India’s Most Valuable Import Products further down near the bottom of this article.

Fuel

In 2017, Indian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products:

  1. Crude oil: US$82 billion (up 34.8% from 2016)
  2. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $20.1 billion (up 58.1%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $13.1 billion (up 36.5%)
  4. Processed petroleum oils: $3.8 billion (up 4.1%)
  5. Petroleum oil residues: $2.2 billion (up 50.1%)
  6. Coke, semi-coke: $1.2 billion (up 68.7%)
  7. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $396.9 million (up 170.2%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $103.6 million (up 8.6%)
  9. Tar pitch, coke: $53.2 million (up 106.2%)
  10. Electrical energy: $35.3 million (up 150.6%)

Among these import subcategories, India’s purchases of high-temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 170.2%), electrical energy (up 150.6%) and tar pitch or coke (up 106.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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 2017, Indian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of gems and precious metals:

  1. Gold (unwrought): US$36.1 billion (up 57.5% from 2016)
  2. Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $27.3 billion (up 43.9%)
  3. Pearls: $3.2 billion (up 118.3%)
  4. Silver (unwrought): $3 billion (up 63.6%)
  5. Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung): $1.8 billion (down -12.8%)
  6. Goldsmith/silversmith wares: $1.3 billion (up 3309.5%)
  7. Jewelry: $782.2 million (up 120%)
  8. Synthetic precious stones: $378.5 million (up 82.5%)
  9. Platinum (unwrought): $317.8 million (up 75.9%)
  10. Imitation jewelry: $39.4 million (up 34.4%)

Among these import subcategories, India’s purchases of goldsmith or silversmith wares (up 3,310%), jewelry (up 120%) and pearls (up 118.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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.

Electronics

In 2017, Indian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics products including consumer electronics:

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$20.6 billion (up 40% from 2016)
  2. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $5.1 billion (up 39.2%)
  3. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $2.1 billion (up 28.3%)
  4. Unrecorded sound media: $1.9 billion (up 3.7%)
  5. Electrical converters/power units: $1.9 billion (up 25.2%)
  6. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $1.7 billion (up 6.2%)
  7. TV/radio/radar device parts: $1.5 billion (up 7.8%)
  8. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $1.3 billion (up 13.9%)
  9. TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras: $963.6 million (up 43%)
  10. Insulated wire/cable: $954.4 million (up 21.2%)

Among these import subcategories, India’s purchases of TV receivers, transmitters and digital cameras (up 43%), phone system devices including smartphones (up 40%) and solar power diodes or semi-conductors (up 39.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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

Machinery

In 2017, Indian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery:

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$5.6 billion (up 20.8% from 2016)
  2. Turbo-jets: $2.3 billion (up 101.2%)
  3. Miscellaneous machinery: $1.6 billion (up 12.7%)
  4. Air or vacuum pumps: $1.5 billion (up 9.3%)
  5. Computer parts, accessories: $1.4 billion (up 10%)
  6. Printing machinery: $1.4 billion (up 15.4%)
  7. Machinery parts: $1.1 billion (up 7.9%)
  8. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $1.1 billion (down -47.5%)
  9. Air conditioners: $1.1 billion (up 22.3%)
  10. Piston engine parts: $1 billion (up 23.9%)

Among these import subcategories, India’s purchases of turbo-jets (up 101.2%), piston engine parts (up 23.9%) and air conditioners (up 22.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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.




 

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, mobile phones then coal.

The following searchable table displays 200 of India’s most in-demand imported goods during 2017. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2016.

RankIndian Import Product2017 Value (US$)Change
1Crude oil$82 billion+34.8%
2Gold (unwrought)$36.1 billion+57.5%
3Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$27.3 billion+43.9%
4Phone system devices including smartphones $20.6 billion+40%
5Coal, solid fuels made from coal$20.1 billion+58.1%
6Petroleum gases$13.1 billion+36.5%
7Palm oil$6.8 billion+20%
8Computers, optical readers$5.6 billion+20.8%
9Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$5.1 billion+39.2%
10Automobile parts/accessories$4.4 billion+18.6%
11Dried shelled vegetables$3.9 billion-2.1%
12Copper ores, concentrates$3.9 billion+58.7%
13Processed petroleum oils$3.8 billion+4.1%
14Pearls$3.2 billion+118.3%
15Silver (unwrought)$3 billion+63.6%
16Soya-bean oil$2.8 billion-8.7%
17Ethylene polymers$2.7 billion+6.6%
18Aircraft, spacecraft$2.7 billion+219.1%
19Iron or steel scrap$2.5 billion+14.5%
20Turbo-jets$2.3 billion+101.2%
21Acyclic alcohols$2.3 billion+29%
22Petroleum oil residues$2.2 billion+50.1%
23Cyclic hydrocarbons$2.2 billion+5.4%
24Integrated circuits/microassemblies$2.1 billion+28.3%
25Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks$2.1 billion-19%
26Vinyl chloride polymers$2 billion+12.6%
27Unrecorded sound media$1.9 billion+3.7%
28Sun/safflower/cotton-seed oil$1.9 billion+41.7%
29Electrical converters/power units$1.9 billion+25.2%
30Aluminum waste, scrap$1.8 billion+38.1%
31Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung)$1.8 billion-12.8%
32Fertilizer mixes$1.7 billion-12%
33Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$1.7 billion+43.1%
34Phosphoric/polyphosphoric acids$1.7 billion+3.3%
35TV receivers/monitors/projectors$1.7 billion+6.2%
36Miscellaneous machinery$1.6 billion+12.7%
37Air or vacuum pumps$1.5 billion+9.3%
38Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$1.5 billion+17.6%
39Coconuts, cashews$1.5 billion+23.6%
40Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$1.5 billion+13.5%
41TV/radio/radar device parts$1.5 billion+7.8%
42Aircraft parts$1.5 billion-30%
43Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$1.4 billion+21.2%
44Nitrogenous fertilizers$1.4 billion-9.9%
45Copper wire$1.4 billion+57.8%
46Computer parts, accessories$1.4 billion+10%
47Printing machinery$1.4 billion+15.4%
48Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$1.4 billion+22.4%
49Goldsmith/silversmith wares$1.3 billion+3,309%
50Lower-voltage switches, fuses$1.3 billion+13.9%
51Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$1.3 billion+34.4%
52Rough wood$1.2 billion-5.7%
53Wheat$1.2 billion+191.2%
54Physical/chemical analysis tools$1.2 billion+10.3%
55Coke, semi-coke$1.2 billion+68.7%
56Machinery parts$1.1 billion+7.9%
57Propylene/olefin polymers$1.1 billion+27.8%
58Taps, valves, similar appliances$1.1 billion-47.5%
59Antibiotics$1.1 billion+10.5%
60Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$1.1 billion+40.1%
61Potassic fertilizers$1.1 billion+6.3%
62Saturated acyclic mono acids$1.1 billion+22.2%
63Miscellaneous nuts$1.1 billion+18.4%
64Sugar (cane or beet)$1.1 billion+14.3%
65Air conditioners$1.1 billion+22.3%
66Piston engine parts$1 billion+23.9%
67Medication mixes in dosage$1 billion+11%
68Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$1 billion+0.1%
69Synthetic rubber$1 billion+27.9%
70Other measuring/testing machines$1 billion+21%
71Rubber/plastic article making machines$979.7 million+12.7%
72TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$963.6 million+43%
73Ball, roller bearings$963.3 million+8.2%
74Cotton (uncarded, uncombed)$961.6 million+9.4%
75Iron ferroalloys$961.4 million+28.9%
76Insulated wire/cable$954.4 million+21.2%
77Electric storage batteries$946.4 million+22.5%
78Liquid pumps and elevators$923.8 million+16%
79Miscellaneous plastic items$894.5 million+1%
80Unrefined copper$881.1 million+27.1%
81Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$852.6 million+15.5%
82Aluminum oxide/hydroxide$848 million+95.5%
83Newsprint (rolls or sheets)$842.8 million-0.2%
84Cruise/cargo ships, barges$838.7 million+2.8%
85Regulate/control instruments$809.2 million+10%
86Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$808.1 million+16.7%
87Aluminum (unwrought)$802.4 million+1.5%
88Paper/paperboard waste, scrap$799.4 million+21.8%
89Breaker vessels$796.7 million+6.6%
90Copper waste, scrap$793.4 million+18.6%
91Polycarboxylic acids$788.6 million+26.3%
92Jewelry$782.2 million+120%
93Manganese ores, concentrates$777.3 million+221.8%
94Chemical industry products/residuals$764 million+15.8%
95Natural rubber$756.4 million+15.3%
96Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$747.3 million+16.7%
97Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$738.9 million+14.1%
98Electric motors, generators$736.9 million+8.7%
99Hydrocarbon derivatives$734.5 million+32.9%
100Coated paper$726.4 million+31.4%
101Ammonia$707.5 million-6.1%
102Acyclic hydrocarbons$706.5 million+168.6%
103Other coloring matter, luminophores$703.3 million+33.3%
104Piston engines$702.1 million+44.5%
105Unsaturated acyclic mono acids$690.1 million+37.9%
106Microphones/headphones/amps$689.8 million+33.2%
107Natural calcium phosphates$682.4 million-13.1%
108Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$678.4 million+23.4%
109Miscellaneous iron or steel items$646 million+4.6%
110X-ray equipment$639.4 million+19.5%
111Amine-function compounds$636.3 million+13.6%
112Temperature-change machines$629.7 million-4.5%
113Miscellaneous furniture$616.4 million+17.3%
114Electrical machinery$613.1 million-9.4%
115Amino-compounds (oxygen)$608.8 million+6.9%
116Moulding boxes/base$608.5 million+15.9%
117Tugboats, pusher craft$588.2 million-41.3%
118Lead (unwrought)$578.8 million+25.3%
119Blood fractions (including antisera)$577.4 million-1.9%
120Phenols/phenol-alcohols$570.1 million+15.7%
121Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$565.3 million-3.9%
122Amino-resins$560 million+34.9%
123Industrial fatty acids and alcohols$556.1 million+38.3%
124Vulcanized rubber items$539 million+8.9%
125Refrigerators, freezers$538.5 million+27.4%
126Chemical woodpulp (dissolving)$533.4 million+17.5%
127Flat-rolled stainless steel items$531.6 million+14.2%
128Ketones, quinones$517 million+26.2%
129Zinc (unwrought)$516.6 million-8.2%
130Motorcycle parts/accessories$508.3 million+1.9%
131Acrylic polymers$507.3 million+12.8%
132Uncoated paper for writing/printing$503.9 million+24.8%
133Interchangeable hand/machine tools$497.9 million+10.3%
134Iron or steel tubes, pipes$495.9 million-18.8%
135Derricks, cranes$495.1 million-10.4%
136Orthopedic appliances$491.8 million+6.1%
137Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$483.9 million+8.9%
138Electric motor parts$476.2 million-26.6%
139Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps$470.8 million-17%
140Weaving machines (loom)$469.6 million-5.2%
141 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $468.4 million-3.3%
142Iron ores, concentrates$459.4 million+101.2%
143Rubber tires (new)$457 million-12.4%
144Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$455.8 million+42.2%
145Knitting/stitching machines$452 million+1.5%
146Machine-tool for metal$449.8 million+21%
147Aluminum foil (thin)$447.4 million+11.3%
148Miscellaneous heterocyclics$446.7 million+37%
149Lifting/loading machinery$445.1 million+15.7%
150Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools$431 million+6.8%
151Polyamides$427.8 million+31.4%
152Printed circuits$425.9 million+20.8%
153Textile fabrics with plastics$425.8 million+14.4%
154Synthetic filament yarn$424.9 million+8.7%
155Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$415.6 million+18.5%
156Other diagnostic/lab reagents$413 million+16.4%
157Other machine parts, accessories$410 million+4.6%
158Nickel (unwrought)$408.7 million-0.6%
159Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers$406 million+8.5%
160Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$403.4 million+26.9%
161Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$396.9 million+170.2%
162Engines (diesel)$396.9 million-11.4%
163Carboxylic acids$393.3 million+17.2%
164Other organic compounds$392.5 million-33.2%
165Textile fiber work machines$385.3 million+1.4%
166Auxiliary machines$381.9 million+12.6%
167Synthetic precious stones$378.5 million+82.5%
168Nitrile-function compounds$372.8 million+25.6%
169Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$368.5 million+25.3%
170Sawn wood$367.8 million+33.5%
171Limestone$360.3 million+24.8%
172Other than warp-knit fabrics$358.6 million+28.5%
173Electrical capacitators$355.9 million+16%
174Copper tubes, pipes$352.1 million+33.2%
175Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$350.9 million+17.7%
176Dates/figs/pineapples/mangoes/avocadoes/guavas$344.5 million+26.7%
177Cases, handbags, wallets$343.4 million+24.5%
178Base metal mountings, fittings$340.7 million+8.6%
179Other nitrogen compounds$330.8 million+41.8%
180Alloy steel bars, rods$330.5 million+2.9%
181Carbonates, percarbonates$328.9 million+8.9%
182Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$328.3 million+20.7%
183Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$328.3 million+27.9%
184Cellulose/chemical derivatives$327 million+0.1%
185Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$326.6 million+23.2%
186Apples, pears (fresh)$324.9 million+22.4%
187Cellulose fiber paper$319.1 million+13.3%
188Platinum (unwrought)$317.8 million+75.9%
189Synthetic organic coloring$315.6 million+0.7%
190Styrene polymers$310 million+29.2%
191Wool (uncarded, uncombed)$298.9 million+3.5%
192Electric ignition/start equipment$298.2 million+8.5%
193Print/write/draw inks$298 million+48.1%
194Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$295.5 million+14.5%
195Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$293.4 million+6.6%
196Lubricant preparations$291.6 million+13.1%
197Electric water heaters, hair dryers$289.4 million+12.8%
198Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$283.8 million+6.8%
199Rubber accelerators, plasticizers$279 million+23.2%
200Miscellaneous engines, motors$278.4 million+23.9%

These 200 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$391.5 billion or 88.2% by value for all products imported into India during 2017.

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 August 8, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on December 31, 2018